ERIC GLAVIN and ANDREAS KOCH at Goethe-Institut (163 King West), extended to March 1. 416-593-5257, www.goethe.de/toronto. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
First impressions are often decep tive, and it's easy, peering through the storefront windows of the Goethe-Institut, to jump to unfair conclusions about Urban Perspectives.
At first glance the show looks cold and uninviting. But the cool and mediated distance Eric Glavin and Andreas Koch establish isn't pompous. Instead, their high Modernism is slow and meandering, creating a stark and refreshing contrast to city living.
Eric Glavin's hard-edged paintings depict 1960s and 70s architectural facades. They're incredibly familiar, to the point of banality, and the naked abstractness of these architectural forms - almost Op Art - offers no distractions from their colours and shapes. These spartan, two-dimensional paintings in classic 1970s shit browns and sickly yellows reduce buildings to geometric patterns.
In Mies, a photo sculpture, and Toronto, a photo-based video developed during an artist's residency at the Drake Hotel, Andreas Koch delivers a surreal reverie on this city. Easily my favourite piece in this show, Toronto is a looped video composed of thousands of still photographs. Meticulously moving from the Toronto Islands to T.O.'s centre, Koch's jaw-dropping technique adds up to an elaborate, stimulating mind game of truth and fiction.
The highlighting of the skyline combined with the video's bizarre airless quality is oddly delicious.
Glavin's and Koch's work does not reflect the manic pace of urban living; their analytical, chilled-out approach proves there's an alternative to this ethos.
Slow down and take the city in.