Psychotopes and Ana Rewakowicz at YYZ (401 Richmond West) to October 18. 416-598-4546. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Here's one problem with art. it can be packaged badly. A show is given an obviously significant name, like Psychotopes, that's never explained in the exhibition pamphlet. This results in potential confusion with the word "psychotrope," which is French for what happens to your brain on LSD and is also the name of a progressive rock band from Quebec.
It turns out that a psychotope, a term first used by an Austrian architectural theorist, is just a fancy way of saying "spiritual resting place," which is really just a happy space. Would it have been so hard to say that in the first place?
The show's curator, Markus Müller, is very highly regarded in the international art world, having most recently been director of communications for the top German art fair, Documenta. Earlier this year, he put out a call for Toronto artists to submit work based on the idea of the psychotope.
Maybe it's the fault of the big word, but the exhibition doesn't fully deliver.
The north room, though, is a gas. Bill Burns 's little travel kit for holy excursions delights. The Instant Coffee signage and ongoing documentation of the group's daily activities are fun. The video depicting the free dance lessons of Day Milman and Paige Gratland is silly, good-natured and joyous. (The next free dance lesson happens Friday, September 26, from 8 pm at Union Station.) This is a happy space.
The rest of the show is spotty. None of the work - predominantly by younger artists, with the post-consumer-materials cage of Robin Collyer and the Vikings and Co. works of John Massey thrown in for good measure - is poor. It just clings together awkwardly.
Moreover, the blustery air-blown plastic bags of the unrelated show by Ana Rewakowicz in the YYZ window space seem to overwhelm the "spiritual resting place." It's still a good show, and if you ratchet down your expectations slightly you'll likely be pleasantly surprised.