GEOFFREY FARMER , JOëLLE TUERLINCKX and IGNACIO ITURRIA at the Power Plant (231 Queens Quay West) until November 13. $4, stu/srs $2, Wednesday 5-8 pm free. 416-973-4949. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Like a black-clad puppeteer among his little characters, the white box of an art gallery tries to remain invisible and direct our attention to the art, yet the space inevitably pulls strings. Here are two artists all too aware of the Power Plant's walls.
Before the show opened, Belgian Joëlle Tuerlinckx panelled every inch of the enormous exhibition space with white paper, allowing the wall to leave unique marks on each sheet. She carefully pulled them down in all but one room, binding them into a giant eight-volume "atlas in one-to-one scale" that viewers can "read."
Extending her critique of exhibitions, Tuerlinckx appropriates the bits and pieces left behind from the previous Power Plant show by Glenn Ligon as well as from the installation by Geoffrey Farmer .
Farmer occupies the largest room. His layered A Pale Fire looks like a used furniture emporium full of perfectly functional second-hand desks, chairs, etc.
Each piece will be systematically sawed into kindling, sandblasted and burnt over the course of the show. An iconic 1960s fireplace hangs 2 feet above the ground, emitting the pleasant smell of burning wood from its squat, bulbous hearth.
Responding to French artist Xavier Vielhan's Le Feu, which used the same kind of fireplace in 1996 as a site for socializing, Farmer references the political act of striking workers burning their office furniture to keep warm. By destroying such useful discarded stuff, he also indicts over-consumption.
Be sure to go upstairs to see the rich, earthy sculptures and paintings in Ignacio Iturria 's Everything Has A Face. With simple, handy materials, the Uruguayan artist meditates on a lifetime of people and places.