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À [Dis] Location : Couture and Frosst at the VAV

Posted by Jasia / July 22, 2010

If you aren't familiar with the VAV gallery, this show might seem a little minimal. And if you are not familiar with the weird administrative practices of universities, the pulling of half the work in the show might seem even more strange.

I mean grass?? I have seen a few shows in my time that involve plants and grass being put into a gallery and have never, never heard of a show being shut down due to allergies. And what about all the grass outside? It seems to me that the best solution for the person who was suffering from allergies to the sod covering the floor of half of Andrew Frosst and Anne-Sophie Couture 's joint exhibition would have been simply to stay clear of it.

The show, which Andrew and Anne-Sophie had come up with in response to the lack of common space in Concordia's Visual Arts Building, consisted of two main sections. The first being a large area of the gallery covered with grass (rolls of sod), which when I attended the opening was scattered with people sitting, sprawling and generally having a good time. The second half of the space contained a mishmash of old couches, in assorted styles, which were also covered in their share of exhibition goers. A small projection of some anonymous architecture also seemed to make reference to the more heady subjects of space and power, but that seemed like a bit of an aside given how grounded the rest of the exhibition was.

Of course, that has all changed now. Given the ultimatum to take out the grass or have the show closed down, the grass has been replaced by the projected image of grass. I personally don't want to consider too deeply what it means when a show that was supposed to say, in Andrew's words, "enjoy the space as we give it to you" gets shut down. The politics of spaces and the importance of public space which had been addressed in such a friendly way by the original work take on a whole new twist, and not particularly a friendly one.

Not to say that every time an institution has to impose a restriction on exhibiting artists it is a bad thing. Of course public safety and how work effects the other users of the space is an concern. But issuing ultimatums to the artists to remove part of their work, in the case of allergies to grass, doesn't seem like the most appropriate solution.

For those interested in seeing what remains of the installation tomorrow (Friday the 23rd) is the last day of the two week show. But more importantly, if you are a Concordia student, it might be time to ask some questions. The artists had originally planned to try and have some of the couches from the exhibition stay in the school after the show's closure, but given the recent events I wonder if a collaboration between the institution and the artists is still a possibility.

Image courtesy Andrew Frosst



john / July 28, 2010 at 01:19 pm
Say WHAT? Someone should tell the school (and possibly the artists) to check out artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey. It's hard to believe that Andrew and Anne-Sophie got shut out for something as innocuous as grass, and over ALLERGIES, not bugs or dirt.
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