DON COLTMAN, KRISTAN HORTON, JACK LINDSAY, TARAS POLATAIKO
October 20–November 24, 2007
This exhibition takes the eerily quiet apocalyptic theme of On the Beach, a 1957 best-selling novel by Nevil Shute, as a starting point. The novel (and the later 1959 film) is set on the coast in Australia where the last global citizens must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months due to the effects of atomic war. Shute’s novel intertwines notions of leisure and hopelessness, and makes simultaneous reference to a strange atmosphere of holiday and the fact that the beach is an edge, a last frontier for an unseen end. Taking this theme as a foundation, the exhibition will bring together works by contemporary artists Kristan Horton and Taras Polataiko, and photographic documents from the Vancouver City Archives of WWII invasion drills and leisure activities on Vancouver beaches by Don Coltman and Jack Lindsay.
Horton’s banner, Repeating Half-Frame, takes the form and language of comic books. The work uses text that appears to terminate before revelation, evoking an unresolved loop. “To save the world… what is required… rests simply… on the idea… that certain… constraints… exist…” However, the work resists a pessimistic view, leaving the solution open. Polataiko’s photograph, 100 Days to Demobilization, is a gesture of counting down. Based on the artist’s experience in the army in which soldiers would inscribe the number of days left of service in the butter spread on their breakfast bread before eating it, the work reflects an unseen end. Like Horton’s work, Polataiko’s photograph lies between the future and the past, between resolution and failure. Together with the photographs by Don Coltman (Steffens-Colmer Ltd.) and Jack Lindsay, these works offer a way to consider the current global climate in relationship to diversion and catastrophe.
KRISTAN HORTON is a Toronto based artist whose work is inspired by popular culture, particularly film. He studied at Guelph University and the Ontario College of Art and Design. His work has been shown at Glassbox, Paris; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Inter Communications Center, Tokyo; Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto; York University Art Gallery; and Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. His work is represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects in Toronto.
TARAS POLATAIKO is a Vancouver based artist, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. He studied at Stroganov Museum of Fine and Industrial Arts, Moscow and the University of Saskatchewan. His work–which is conceptually based and often explores political history and memory–has been shown at the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal; 25th Sao Paulo Bienale; Soros International Centre for Contemporary Art, Kiev; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona; National Museum of Lithuania, Kaunas; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York.
Artspeak would like to thank the Vancouver Foundation for their support of this project, as well as Ramada Limited Downtown and the Vancouver City Archives.
Category: Exhibition Catalogue
Artists: Melvin Moti, Kerry Tribe, Don Coltman, Kristan Horton, Jack Lindsay, Taras Polataiko
Writers: Melvin Moti, Susan Sontag, Juan A. Gaitán, Kathleen Ritter, Colin Browne, Althea Thauberger
Editor: Melanie O’Brian
Design: Courtenay Webber, The Future
Printer: Hemlock Printers, Vancouver
Year published: 2008
Binding: Perfect Bound
Features: 9 colour images, 3 b&w images
Dimensions: 18 x 11.5 x 1.2 cm
Weight: 148 g
Price: $6 CDN
Retrospect is an examination of the role of memory and imagination in the consideration of disaster. Memory, like history, is subjective and unfixed; the records of both are dynamically unstable, constantly shifting and informed by the present. Imagination—in this case the imagination of disaster—reflects anxiety and unsettles the present. In its representation, disaster is imagined both retrospectively and prospectively, as a memory and as a fear. However, it has been argued that imagining future catastrophes is impossible in that we can only circle back to what is known; we model these cataclysms on what has already occurred. In this way, disaster is always represented in hindsight, even in the sci-fi realms of the future.
Retrospect brings together visual reproductions of the work in three Artspeak exhibitions held in 2007, two new texts by artist Melvin Moti and art historian/curator Juan A. Gaitán, as well as a reprinted Susan Sontag essay to address the themes of memory, reenactment and disaster. The images are from exhibitions of work by Melvin Moti, Kerry Tribe, and On the Beach (Don Coltman, Kristan Horton, Jack Lindsay and Taras Polataiko). The publication also includes reprinted Postscript texts for the above exhibitions. Postscript authors are Colin Browne, Kathleen Ritter and Althea Thauberger.