Uncontrolled Reflections: Installations by Latin American Artists at Shift Gallery (688 Richmond West) to April 23. 416-576-5562. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Ranging from organic and mystical symbolism to savage political manifestos and cutting-edge conceptualism, the work of seven Latin American multimedia artists gets a showcase at Shift .
The deeply Jungian Scaled-Down Universe created by collaborators Tracy German and Marta Cela is a metallic dream ship containing a liquid silver pool and surrounded by sand. The pool and sand are brought to life by two film projections, a montage of organic colour and light and highly tactile black-and-white footage of bare feet descending steps to the beach.
This sensibility is echoed by the installation and performance of Claudia Bernal , which projects a fertility ritual performed by a Mexico City woman shaman onto a white feather shawl. Both pieces draw on the timeless quality of South America's ancient folkloric and magical traditions.
Ruben Ortiz Torres makes a lyrical and disturbing contribution with his projected mural, an homage to muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. The projection, a series of photographs in which images of war, daily life and poverty continuously shape-shift into one another and finally into the face of Siqueiros himself, creates an evocative loop of horror.
Gustavo Daniel Kortsarz uses a more whimsical approach in A Los 40, a daily video self-portrait recording the subtle changes he underwent during his 40th year. The jumbled soundtrack references the Beatles' White Album, and the alterations in his appearance convey a strange mix of continuity and radical change.
Oscar Muoz , who represented Colombia at the 51st Venice Biennale, steals the show with the simple and breathtaking video pieces Re/Trato and Narciso. In Re/Trato, Muñoz is filmed racing against the Colombian heat, attempting to paint a quick self-portrait on sun-baked concrete with water before it evaporates. The image almost but never quite reaches completion, only to be followed by another attempt.
In Narciso, Muñoz has miraculously suspended another self-portrait in the water in a sink, using graphite particles; it gradually deteriorates as it's sucked down the drain. Both works are reflections on the struggle for identity and recognition against time, and an understated reference to the sudden "disappearance" of many of Colombia's political dissidents.