Roderick Buchanan at Goodwater (800 Dundas West) to Nov 8. 416-703-5222. Rating: NNNNN
football is tremendously popular. Video art is not. So what about video art about football? Again, not so popular.Goodwater, a quiet little gallery off Dundas West, is featuring a pair of superb video works by noted and award-winning Glaswegian artist Roderick Buchanan that deserve more attention than they're getting.
Love/hate/celtic/rangers is a short, sweet piece consisting of a series of close-ups of Scottish schoolchildren of all shapes and sizes saying the name of one of the two biggest football clubs in that country: Celtic or Rangers. At first it's a continuous chant of "Sewltic," but then the chorus turns to "Rrangers." Then a teacher comes on over the PA and the whole thing is over before you know it.
It's a charming and disarming piece -- a study in expressions and personalities -- that leaves you wanting more. So you watch it again and maybe even again. Each time you discover another nuance. But be careful -- the audio is intentionally very repetitive and the piece can lose its charm after excessive viewing. That's why the gallery attendant turns down the volume after you leave.
The other work, Ten In A Million -- Warsaw, is displayed in the gallery window and consists of footage from a series of empty football pitches in that particular eastern European city. The camera is positioned at the centre line and smoothly rotates several hundred degrees. That's it.
What's wonderful is how you fill in the rest yourself. You see a dirt pitch with four goals, one of them fallen, and imagine children running around emulating their favourite players. In a huge field behind a school, tiny nets seem to be anticipating an invasion of Polish soccer moms.
Panning across the empty seats of a small stadium, you can imagine the excitement of playing in front of a crowd. It's like being a kid again, sitting in the middle of an empty field with a ball and a dream.