Canadian Art - - Reviews -


I’ve been watch­ing Win­dow, a Win­nipeg artist-run cen­tre, since it opened up in 2012, which is the same year I left the city. Oc­cu­py­ing one win­dow of the large Artspace build­ing in Win­nipeg’s his­toric Ex­change District, Win­dow in­stalled one pro­ject a month in 2016, be­fore switch­ing to a bi­monthly sched­ule in 2017. The space lacks sig­nage or con­text, and in­ter­acts with the streetscape in a lively, con­fronta­tional way that few spa­ces in Win­nipeg do. Fol­low­ing from afar and vis­it­ing oc­ca­sion­ally, I’ve added it to the list of Win­nipeg things that give me mild ex­pat envy: the bars I can’t name, new restau­rants I don’t know, the ex­cit­ing art scene I’m not part of any­more.

Mea­sur­ing six-by-six feet, Win­dow is at streetlevel, on the down­town corner of Ban­natyne Av­enue and Arthur Street. The phys­i­cal space and lo­ca­tion is im­por­tant; here, Mark Clint­berg’s 2016 in­stal­la­tion En­trance Lower Level ad­ver­tised a fic­tional gay club called “Dé­tourne­ment,” and directed peo­ple to the club’s non-ex­is­tent en­trance (“lower level, south-east side.”). It ac­tively en­gaged with passers-by in the bor­der­line-mean way an art pro­ject can when its func­tion goes un­named. Pre­sum­ably there were peo­ple who took the sig­nage at face value, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing a well-known gay club in the neigh­bour­hood, Gio’s, had re­cently closed af­ter 31 years. Win­dow’s in­te­gra­tion into the down­town land­scape forces peo­ple to question and in­ter­act with it. When high­light­ing the struc­tures and cracks of the city, the monthly in­stal­la­tions have of­ten been a poignant com­ment on Win­nipeg it­self.

The­o­ret­i­cally, at least. I stood in front of Win­dow on a frigid De­cem­ber evening. Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” played from a nearby restau­rant, a re­minder that de­spite the des­o­late street, there was life in­side the sur­round­ing build­ings. Even­tu­ally some­one walked by. Likely con­fused by the pres­ence of a per­son stand­ing in mi­nus-31-de­gree wind chill, she stopped to look at Han­nah Doucet’s I Never Rec­og­nized Her Ex­cept in Frag­ments. “What’s this?” she asked me. “It’s Win­nipeg’s only 24-hour artist-run cen­tre,” I said, par­rot­ing Win­dow’s tagline. She glanced again and kept go­ing. —KAARI SINNAEVE

Mark Clint­berg En­trance Lower Level 2016 Gold ad­he­sive vinyl on glass 1.42 x 1.42 m COUR­TESY PIERRE-FRANÇOIS OUEL­LETTE ART CONTEMPORAIN PHOTO KAREN ASHER

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