BLAKE FITZPATRICK AND VID INGELEVICS at the Goethe-Institut (163 King West) to December 4. Free. 416-593-5257. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Kudos to the Goethe-Institut for putting up photographs of Berlin Wall remnants, but too bad about the awkward presentation. The odd round space, interrupted by the institute's reception desk, frames the interesting work as decor.
On hand are six photos of original Berlin Wall panels given to the U.S. as trophies. In one incisive image a single slab hangs in the entrance to a Washington convention centre behind airline-style security. Ah, the freedom to be suspect.
Three other large photographs depict fragments of the Wall belonging to two former American diplomats. Looking like enlarged shots from a geology textbook, they bring to mind the widespread interest in acquiring these specks of history. In the corner, there's a send-up of this fascination in some tiny Wall crumbs on a plinth inside a plexiglass case.
It's a great idea. No surprise there; the noted artists hold down day jobs at OCAD's faculty of art, Blake Fitzpatrick as the dean and Vid Ingelevics as an instructor. But the first showing of this ongoing project deserves more careful execution.
Mounted on thick boards to "give them their own object-like quality," according to Ingelevics, the shots come across as cheap, scattered around the Goethe's entrance.
Having said this, I suspect there will be brilliance in the next instalment. The story they're documenting of the distribution of these remnants in the U.S. is intriguing.
While personal collections of small chunks tell of an intimate connection with the Wall and its fall, the giant graffiti-covered panels littering the U.S. capital stand for the very freedoms Washington has been attacking since 9/11.
These slabs are like the antlered heads of a dead Stalinist ideal, mounted on the den walls of smug capitalist hunters.