rennie collection is pleased to present an exhibition of works by a selection of internationally renowned artists: Pablo Bronstein, Aaron Curry, Andrew Grassie, Louise Lawler, Mike Nelson, Roman Ondak and Ian Wallace. The exhibition runs from July 13 to October 5, 2013.

While all of these artists have their own distinctly unique styles and practices, the exhibit creates a unifying dialogue surrounding a conceptual questioning of the museum as an entity and ideas regarding space and movement. These works, pertaining to or involving centers of artistic presentation such as museums or galleries, have been dubbed in the canon of art history as “institutional critique”. 

In Six Affordable Neo-Georgian Futures for the Metropolitan Museum (2009), Pablo Bronstein (b. 1977) focuses on the architectural side of institutional technique. His interests lie in how architecture has the ability to intervene in personal identity and inform our movements, behaviours and social customs. Using pen and ink on paper and adopting the styles of various architects and movements, his invented monuments become plausible inventions, both paying homage to and critiquing the emblems of civil engineering. 

The critical eye of Aaron Curry (b. 1972) may not at first glance be decipherable. The Monad Has Wheels (Wooden Knight) (2010) is one of the slotted-together plywood sculptures for which Curry is well known. Its surfaces, covered in the same wallpaper pattern that also covers the exhibition room walls and thus camouflaged ineffectually against its background, raises questions and meditates formally on preconceived notions of flatness and volume. Curry draws attention to the symbiosis between gallery space and art itself.

Louise Lawler
One Mondrian: At the Art Institute of Chicago, 1982

There is a rhythm to Andrew Grassie’s (b. 1966) work that plays on the public and private lives of works of art as they exist in a collection. In his series of small paintings entitled New Hang, Grassie challenges the roles of both artist and anthropologist, personally selecting and installing works from the Tate collection to photograph and subsequently paint as his subjects. His technically complex method of working results in an imagery, such as in Tate: New Hang 10 (2004-05), that questions the very essence of the exhibition.

Louise Lawler’s (b. 1947) delicate photographs subtly mediate on the many different lives of an artwork. Whether displayed on a gallery wall such as One Mondrian: At the Art Institute of Chicago (1982) or resting peacefully amongst a cornucopia of items as in Objects (1984), the meaning of each artwork is refreshed and expanded through each different location. Lawler’s unique perspective allows us to share in the secret life of art, altering and enriching the viewer’s experience.

Mike Nelson’s (b. 1967) Le Cannibale (parody, consumption and institutional critique)(2008) is a burial ground of damaged plinths which serve as a reminder of an exhibition long-since past. The plinths are created from destroyed walls comprising of another artwork that Nelson exhibited at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2008. As Nelson states, “When something is physically broken, we do not forget about it. We are reminded of the memories associated with it”. His work speaks to the ultimate temporality and artifice of the gallery or museum space. 

Where the viewers detached in Lawler’s work, Slovakian artist Roman Ondák (b. 1966) utilizes the gallery visitor as a key component. Shown for the first time in Canada, Measuring the Universe (2007) is an interactive piece previously exhibited at Tate Liverpool and MoMA, NY. Over the course of the exhibition, attendants mark visitors’ heights, first names, and dates of the measurements on the gallery walls. The mark making becomes the measure of man. By inviting people to actively participate, Ondák creates a work of art from a prosaic everyday behavior while questioning the roles of art objects and spectators, production and reception.

Ian Wallace (b. 1950) works in a space occupied by both painting and photography, highlighting the discourse between the two mediums. Using abstract painting as a grounding for the photographic image, Wallace presents us with an intersection of images and histories that prompt a reconsideration of how viewers view works of art. In the Museum (Peter Halley Series III) (1989) references aesthetic and social issues through the exchange systems of the studio, the museum and the street.