EMMANUELLE LÉONARD at Mercer Union (37 Lisgar) to May 15. 416-536-1519. Rating: Rating: NNN
have you ever gone back to a place where you used to work and been struck by how weird the familiar sights and smells are? You feel at home and out of place all at once. In Working, Montreal artist Emmanuelle Léonard dedicates three series of photographs to uncovering our bizarre relationship with the workplace.
In one series, Statistical Landscape (In The Eye Of The Worker), she enlisted the help of 20 people representing different sectors of Toronto's labour force to shoot pictures of their empty workplaces. Léonard then chose one shot by each participant and arranged the photos together in a kind of installation.
She has sized the 20 shots according to Statistics Canada's employment-sector data for Toronto, so the biggest employer, manufacturing, gets the biggest picture, and the lowest, mining and oil and gas extraction, gets the smallest. The result is a workers'-eye view of where we go to work every day.
It's pathetic how characterless our workplaces are. Information and culture offices look almost identical to finance and insurance. But beyond the obvious, Léonard reveals how we're segregated by industry; she portrays a people divided and conquered. It's a welcome challenge to the corporate imagery of perfect workplaces we're so used to being fed.
If you stop by Mercer Union to see this exhibit, be sure to check out Internationale Virologie Numismatique , who've built the freakin' boardroom of the revolution in the back, complete with a huge pile of shredded U.S. dollar bills. Word is, their performance on opening night was terrific.