KRISTAN HORTON at YYZ Artists Outlet (401 Richmond West) in conjunction with the Images Festival, until April 22. 416-598-4546. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Despite the battle to keep Toronto green, the garbage just keeps piling up.
Glomming onto the second and third elements of the reduce-reuse-recycle holy trinity, many artists have taken to using the stuff to make art. One of the best of these is Kristan Horton.
In his series of eight stop-motion vignettes, one form of packaging turns into the likeness of another before your very eyes. Each step is shown, and segments are played forwards and backwards so it's clear how each stage leads meticulously and whimsically to the next. Best of all, the videos follow the course of natural curiosity, letting us in on the character of their unseen creator. First, an empty pack of cigarettes disassembles itself into several strategically shaped pieces.
Some of them skitter offstage, and what remains reassembles itself into the likeness of a pop can, replete with a ring to tear it open. It's replaced in a flash by a real pop can, which then becomes a tin of sardines.
The tin opens, the sardines escape onto a plate (occasionally disappearing as the artist gets hungry), and the tin turns back into a pop can.
Next, a new Coke can turns into a takeout coffee cup, becomes a tin of sardines, a pop can again, a pack of cigarettes and then, finally, a carton of cream.
Throughout, Horton's objects come together with the aid of little wads of clay that hold them in position for the camera, and these also take on amorphous shapes and a little character of their own.
A light and fun work, Cig2Coke2Tin2Coff2Milk still raises the question of why everything comes in throwaway packaging.
It wasn't so long ago that everything was made to be reused, packaging included. Surely, there's no reason for disposability to be indispensable.
Catch the show before it closes Saturday (April 22). You will never look at garbage the same way again.