SOCIAL EASE at Luft Gallery (13 Ossington), to May 30. 416-535-6958. Rating: NNN
Human beings are a quirky bunch. We shake hands and nod our heads - all of which seems pretty normal to us, but when we see our social behaviour exaggerated it starts to look weird. The Luft Gallery exhibit Social Ease exaggerates human behaviour to the point of absurdity. The group show of international artists, curated by Rhonda Corvese , explores the conventions we use to preserve the peace and interact with our surroundings.
If you've ever had an awkward or embarrassing moment, you'll find it very easy to identify with the work.
In the back, Harold Offeh 's video projection Smile shows the artist's attempt to smile continuously for 34 minutes as Nat King Cole's song by the same name repeats over and over. You can see his face muscles cramping up.
The front room has Toronto artist Maria Legault 's exploration of another awkward gesture - the apology. In her video, seen through a small round hole in the wall, she covers her face and head with different objects while we hear her repeatedly say she is so sorry.
Also using video, Sofia Hultén acts out her natural responses to her environment. In a series of scenes that take place around an office, Hultén tries to disappear. One hilarious take has her on the floor of a cubicle with her head shoved under a slit in the carpet. Be sure to check out her photos, too.
The most complex work comes out of Dirk Fleischmann 's four-year project The Kiosk. After inventing an entire economic system based on the honour system (too intricate to explain here), he's selling cans of Fanta for about $87 each.
This show works well, but at $87 a pop, don't show up thirsty.