Canadian Art - - Spotlight -

“I’m in­ter­ested in the long view, in look­ing at the way nar­ra­tives of a sin­gle place are of­ten in­com­pat­i­ble,” says Toronto artist Felix Kalmenson. “When I un­cover and present di­verg­ing truths, I want to use them as a way of read­ing our con­tem­po­rary sit­u­a­tion. His­tory is con­stantly be­ing rewrit­ten.” Kalmenson’s re­search-based prac­tice ex­am­ines ab­stract con­tem­po­rary forces, such as cap­i­tal, big data and col­o­niza­tion, through the con­crete­ness of ar­chi­tec­ture and land­scape, iden­ti­fy­ing sites with com­plex his­to­ries and distilling them into para­bles for un­der­stand­ing the world. His in­stal­la­tion Cen­tre for the In­ter­pre­ta­tion of Wa­ter and Power (2014) uses video and found ob­jects to in­ves­ti­gate the use of wa­ter as both a con­sum­able and hy­dro­elec­tric re­source in Blanca, Spain, while ex­plor­ing the ex­ploita­tion and ma­nip­u­la­tion of these resources by po­lit­i­cal bod­ies to re­pro­duce other struc­tures of power. Kalmenson re­cently re­turned to Saint Peters­burg, the city of his birth, for a res­i­dency or­ga­nized by Rus­sia’s Na­tional Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, a trip he had pre­vi­ously thought im­pos­si­ble be­cause his fam­ily’s ci­ti­zen­ship was re­voked when they left the Soviet Union. Draw­ing on a fam­ily video recorded shortly be­fore they left, Kalmenson cre­ated the two-chan­nel video work Nei­ther Coun­try, Nor Grave­yard (2017). “I used the home video as a guide,” he says. “I’d been gone so long I had to in­ter­act with the city as a tourist. I made a shot-by-shot re­cre­ation of it. It be­came a way to re-in­scribe my­self onto the city, which has changed so much and not at all. The cor­rupt pow­ers are just in new ad­min­is­tra­tions and bu­reau­cra­cies.”

Felix Kalmenson A Line is Not a Line (still) 2015 HD video 10 min 55 sec

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