Thursday, December 24, 2009

A day at the AGO

On Saturday, Sandlot and I partook of an outing to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). While walking through the halls of this beautifully renovated gallery gave us warm and fuzzy feelings of high culture, these impressions were quickly quashed by our realization that art appreciation is not among our many fine qualities.

Not only did we not understand many of the exhibits (slash what made them special slash what qualifies you to be showcased in a gallery), but I actually found many of the exhibits slightly distressing. Those artsy types are kind of twisted if you ask me. The frequent juxtaposition of religious icons and sexual imagery made me particularly queasy.

The really neat stuff hit us once we made it up to the fourth floor contemporary art exhibits. One particularly attention-grabbing showpiece was a three metre tall statue of sorts called "Stretch #1" by Evan Penny. It was essentially a giant stretched out head made of silicone and hair... but it looked so eerily real. One could be led to believe that the face was in fact a real head that had been stretched out by inhumane and indecent means. Sandlot and I were deeply tempted to touch it but refrained mostly due to the "Do Not Touch" sign and the hawkish security camera above, but also because the thing was pretty damn creepy.

As our time at the AGO wound down, we found ourself sitting in a room with two projectors displaying two very slow moving films. The films for the most part involved a stationary camera capturing the daily going abouts at particular locations, much like watching security camera footage (they had a distinctly stalker-like feel to them). Apparently, the films were deliberately paced to feel "slower than real life" in order to make viewers pay the same kind of attention to this moving media that they do to still photographs. Neat.

However, the room was entitled "Three Films" by Mark Lewis. "Where's the third film?" I pondered aloud. Sandlot commented on how one of the films was actually split into two halves (capturing two halves of the same location at different times of day). Therefore, the first film must count as two, and the second film as the third. Made sense to us.

We spent the next little while reading about the exhibit and admiring the films. Then, having had our fill of this abstract cinematography, we walked into the next room... where a third projector awaited us. "Oh, I guess that's the third film," I snickered.

I'm not sure, but I think the AGO employee standing in that room must have given us a funny look.


sandlot said...

How do you remember all the art descriptions? I guess this is why i need a) you and b) your blog for recap, because all i remember from the AGO is walking around a building with you looking at somewhat confusing paintings.

Perhaps, i should read the captions next time....


Joyce said...

i fail to appreciate a large portion of the stuff at AGO. D:
But i did love the contemporary art exhibit floor!