Sunday, 31 March 2013

An Afternoon @ the National Gallery of Canada

As today is Easter Sunday, most stores are closed. therefore, options for entertainment in the city can be a bit limited. However, thanks to Twitter, I knew that the National Gallery of Canada was open until 5pm today. After we had brunch with some friends, my husband and I headed downtown for a quick visit.

The purpose of our visit was to check out Martin Creed: Work No. 202: Half the air in a given space. This exhibition is only on display until tomorrow so I was really eager to catch it before then. I had read about this exhibition through the Twitterverse and heard that it really messed with your head, causing claustrophobia and panic attacks with some visitors. Naturally, I was intrigued!

First of all, Work No. 202: Half the air in a given space is featured in the museum's Contemporary Art section. According to the National Gallery of Canada website: "In this installation the artist gives form to the air that surrounds us by precisely measuring and capturing half of it inside nearly twenty thousand black balloons. Creating an environment that is both playful and claustrophobic, he drastically alters our perception of space." This exhibition does this with the participation of the visitors.

Now, I like contemporary art. I especially like it when I get to participate. This sounded like a great idea... However, I am prone to anxiety, so being stuck in a room filled up with balloons started sounding like a bad idea. Also, I hate balloons and I cannot stand the sound of balloons popping. As I wanted in line to get in, it started to sound more and more like a bad idea.

However, after waiting for over 30 minutes, I knew I had to go in. I also wanted to face my anxieties. I held onto my husband's hand and entered the room. The experience was actually really interesting. All you see is darkness as you're moving blindly into the room. Therefore, you begin to rely a lot more on your other senses. When you stop for a moment, among the silence, you can hear the balloons rustling and moving against each other. The most prevalent factor of this exhibition is how you really become aware of your physical space. It seems like such an obvious thing but your sense of awareness really does become heightened.

Overall, I really enjoyed the exhibition. The message is quite simple but the medium is quite effective. It's worth checking out!


Then we went to see the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts 2013 winners. The piece that stood out for me was by William MacGillivray. One of his works, a video entitled Linda Joy explores the story of a young woman as she's dealing with cancer. This piece is truthful and quite powerful. It hits close to home and you get really invested in the story.

Finally, we stopped to see Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences. This photography exhibition explore war and conflict (both past and present) and features artists from Canada and abroad. After seeing 2012 World Press Photo at the Canadian War Museum last summer, I knew I had to make a stop at this exhibition. The subject matter is a really hard one. However, these images tell a powerful story. I highly recommend seeing this exhibition (on display until April 21).

No comments:

Post a Comment