This piece, the first of a hybrid approach of mine, conjoins the image-based mural work from the street with my more abstract geometric wooden installations. This fusion compliments and pulls from the torqued writhing wooden beams of Galeria Italia, Frank Gehry’s most iconic section of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s rebuild, where the installation is located.
Embodying many of the complexities expressed in this piece are fencers. An allusion to the capitalist culture we are in, locked into a constant struggle of competition that is amplified by our society. The Fencers also draw up an association with the Olympics, a wholly western idea that has caught on global appeal and introduced a different form of competition to other nations. Although seemingly small and insignificant compared to the scale of this piece, the fencer’s shoes become powerful symbols of the different companies involved in the event. As well as having one nation versus another in this image, we can see the corporate influence that shadows the games and serves as a subtle reminder of the unequal playing field rooted in existing global hierarchies.
Athletes spend their lives perfecting their practice, but how this energy is used and co-opted creates a corporate industry surrounding the sport. This industry has profound psychological, social and environmental effects. Another facet of this piece that ties many of my ideas together is the use of multiple-exposure photography, relating to Eadweard Muybridge’s galloping horse image where, in 1878 he proved, through still photographs, that a horse at mid-gallop has all four feet off the ground. Until this moment people did not believe this. Through this installation, I am attempting to highlight the intricate historical relationship between capitalist industrialization, scientific establishment and cultural production.