|Abstract or Description:
A group exhibition, featuring newly-commissioned alongside existing work by Diane Borsato, Gerard Byrne, Nancy Davenport, Felix Gmelin, Sharon Hayes, Mary Kelly, Nestor Kruger, Michael Maranda, Olivia Plender, Walid Raad, Dario Robleto, Michael Stevenson, Kelley Walker, Lee Walton, 'Not Quite How I Remember It' highlighting forms of re-enactment and reconstruction.
The exhibition investigated how artists engage with events, narratives and cultural artefacts from the recent past through montage, sampling and remixing. Neither wistful about bygone days nor deluded about their ability to reconstruct earlier times faithfully, they mobilised history to understand contemporary reality. While building on artistic strategies of appropriation, the artworks included differ from the cool, laconic pillaging of the late 1970s "Pictures" generation. In a world where copying, sampling, cutting, and pasting are just a click away, many artists in the exhibition took a paradoxically embodied and labour-intensive approach to remaking.
FIELD OF KNOWLEDGE:
With a keen interest in how the past is remembered and misremembered, memorialised and mythologised, the exhibition explored a question posed by one of its artists, Dario Robleto: "Can a creative gesture begun by one artist be passed like a baton through the years to be continued or completed by another artist in another time so that it never has to end but fulfils Gonzalez-Torres’s ambition to become ‘endless copies’?”
Distinguishing between history as the study of occurrences and poetry as the imagining of possibilities, Aristotle assigned poetry the higher place. By emphasizing the unrealized potential of the past, or what exhibiting artist Sharon Hayes has called “pending or hypothetical events,” Not Quite How I Remember It collapses the two.
Regarding the past as full of unfulfilled promise, works in the exhibition ask us to wonder: What time is it? or When are we? This sense of layered time reverberates with Walter Benjamin’s idea that outdated aesthetic objects make time appear. Interpreting these artworks sharpens the viewer's awareness of historical place, and perhaps even prompts questions about how future generations will represent us.
The exhibition catalogue, distributed by DAP Books, featured essays by curator Helena Reckitt and art historian Johanna Burton.
The exhibition was accompanied by public programmes including a screening programme, Am I Repeating Yourself?, a participatory public performance with Lee Walton, Life/Theater, and a one-day symposium, Let's Do It Again.
Am I Repeating Yourself?
Wednesday, 25 June, 7 PM
Wednesday, 9 July, 7 PM
Wednesday , 13 August , 7 PM
A screening programme artists’ films across three nights took part within several themes: 'Affectionate Homages and Hostile Takeovers' featured artistic remakes that range from the reverential to the mischievous. Featuring John Baldessari’s John Baldessari Sings Sol le Witt (1972), Mike Kelley & Paul McCarthy’s Fresh Acconci (1995), Felix Gmelin’s Two Films Exchanging Soundtracks (2003), Zin Taylor’s Put Your Eye in Your Mouth (2007), Jill Godmillow’s What Farocki Taught (1998), Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s File Under Sacred Music (2003), Alison S.M. Kobayashi’s Dan Carter (2006), and Elisabeth Subrin’s Shulie (1997). 'History in the Remaking' presented efforts to restage and revisit the political, social and artistic past. Together these films posit the creative and discursive implications of adaptation and repetition. Featuring T. R. Uthco and Ant Farm’s, The Eternal Frame (1976), Anri Sala’s Intervista (1998), Bruce Conner’s Report (1967), and Magnus Bärtas’s Kumiko, Johnnie Walker & the Cute (2006–2007).
The one-day symposium, Let’s Do It Again: Contemporary Art and Re-enactment, developed in collaboration with art historian Amish Morrell, combined perspectives from artists, art historians and critics to consider the generative and critical potential of historical reconstruction and re-enactment. Keynote speakers were art critic Jan Verwoert, 'Living with Ghosts', and art historian Amelia Jones, 'Live Art in History – Remembering the Ephemeral Body'. Panelists and respondents were artist Dario Robleto, art historian Jim Drobnick, critic and curator Jessica Wyman, and curator Helena Reckitt. The event also included a verbatim performance by Toronto artist Johanna Householder: The Subject of Art 2.0 Alain Badiou/Paul Miller.
Reviews of the show include:
Benjamin Carlson, Frieze, Issue 119, November-December 2008
Not Quite How I Remember It: Rapid Memory Gloss
By Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art, JULY 10, 2008
designboom.com (19 Jul 2008)
Visible disillusionment (Not Quite How I Remember It): An article from: Afterimage, by William V. Ganis, Vol. 36, No. 3, November-December, 2008
'Blast to the Past' by Tyler Coburn, Jun 25th, 2008, rhizome.org
The exhibition was previewed by Julia Bryan-Wilson in Artforum (May 2008)
The exhibition was named Number 2 in Now Magazine's Top Ten Art Shows of 2008
'Stop Making Sense: Felix Gmelin in conversation with Helena Reckitt, a dialogue between the curator and one of the exhibiting artists appeared in the magazine SWITCH, The Power Plant, Winter 2008-09, p.10-14
Helena Reckitt reflected on the exhibition in the article 'To Make Time Appear', in a special issue of Art Journal edited by Amelia jones, on artists' reenactments, VOL. 70, NO. 3 (FALL 2011): 58-63. The article was accompanied by installation photographs of the exhibition and the work of exhibiting artists. Sharon Hayes, a participating artist in the exhibition, contributed an article about her work involving historical processes to the same issue of Art Journal.
An essay from the exhibition catalogue by Johanna Burton, 'On (Not) Going Back' has been reprinted in the book 'Memory', published by the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, and MIT Press, Cambridge, edited by Ian Farr (2012).
The introduction to 'Memory', titled 'Not Quite How I Remember It', acknowledges the editor's and the exhibition's debt to the exhibition.
The exhibition was considered in the paper 'On Gossip and Ghosts' by Jon Davies, presented at the panel 'Luminous Bodies At Nightfall,' 18 January 2009, Gladstone Hotel and at the symposium 'We, Ourselves and Us,' 24 January 2009, organised by Public Access, York University and the Power Plant, Toronto.