There are four exhibitions at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at the moment.

One of the exhibits is “A Wall is just a Wall” by Kapwani Kiwanga. Here, a hallway has been transformed with pink and blue lights. If you walk down this hall, you’ll find an entranceway to another section of the gallery with more of Kiwanga’s work. The gist of the thought behind her exhibit is the affect that architecture and design (such as colour) has on the behaviour of those exposed to it.   It’s a bit disconcerting to walk through the lights – they affect your perception of space and make you feel a bit dizzy.  Or at least that’s what happened to me!

a hallway is lit in pink and blue lighting, covers all walls and ceiling too

Another hall.  Another exhibit.  This time, an installation by Latifa Echakhch called “Cross Fade”.   You can see it in the Fleck Clerestory which is the long, high hallway that runs down the middle of the building.  For the installation, the walls were painted light blue with white cloud shapes.  Chunks of the outer layer of plaster were then removed and pieces left on the floor.    The sky is falling!  I can just see Chicken Little running around.  The sky is falling!  But in this case, he’d be right.

When I first saw the installation, I only saw the lower portion and I assumed that it was a neglected wall.  It looks like many of the walls you find in lanes and alleys.  To me it represented the cycle of building and decay that plays out all around us.   I struggle with the idea that painting it to look like the sky changes how the piece should be perceived.  Are we supposed to be upset that the sky is broken and lying on the ground?  Is the use of the normal (plaster falling off a neglected wall) to try to show the abnormal (the sky falling apart) on purpose?  If so, to what purpose?

high walls in a narrow room, walls covered with plaster and painted light blue with clouds, some of the plaster is peeling away and it's supposed to look like the sky is falling . a large window is at the end of the room

below: Looking up towards the skylights.   It is more apparent from this angle that the walls are painted to look like the sky.   By the way, cross fade is the technique in sound or movie editing  where a picture or sound gradually appears at the same time as another disappears.

looking upwards to a skylight two storeys above, the walls of the narrow room (hall) are covered with plaster and painted light blue with clouds, some of the plaster is peeling away and it's supposed to look like the sky is falling

From the online description of the exhibit:  “…. Cross Fade evokes the remains of an action that has already taken place. Echakhch’s wall painting of the sky appears to be falling apart. Fragments of the sky still exist intact on the upper sections of the walls, out of reach, reminding us of its beauty. However, large parts of the sky lie on the ground, creating a peculiar feeling that something beyond our control is either happening or has just happened. The technique employed here references the classical fresco, a second skin that usually leads the viewer into a painted world, a trompe-l’œil, rendering the two-dimensionality of the wall invisible. On the contrary, Echakhch’s work shatters this illusion, rooting us in the present, which like a cross fade, is caught between the past and the future.”

 

Leaving the hall theme behind, the last two exhibits are:

below:  Part of “On Fishes, Horses and Man”  by Jonathas de Andrade

a room in an art gallery filled with posters of men hanging from the ceiling at various levels. All have the words museu do homem do noreste

below:  And “The One Who Keeps on Giving” by Maria Hupfield

art installation on a gallery ceiling of many light bulbs of different shapes and sizes hanging from a piece of wood on cords of different, but short, lengths.

All exhibits continue until mid May.

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Comments
  1. icelandpenny says:

    Power Plant is always such a treat! sometimes a puzzling treat, but that’s good too. I am constantly amazed at the things they can do with the long, high central hallways. Thanks for the tour.

    • Mary C says:

      I think that next time I visit it, or galleries like it, I won’t read about the art. I’ll just enjoy the visuals. More often than not it’s the concept or the jargon filled reasoning behind the piece that bothers me. That and the disconnect between the words and the art.

  2. Joanne Sisco says:

    I haven’t been to the Power Plant. While the building itself fascinates me, I’m not really a museum kind of person and basically I consider myself art-stupid. I know that the artist is usually trying to evoke an emotion or perception, but more often than not, I just don’t ‘get’ it.

    • Mary C says:

      Trying to ‘get it’ doesn’t work…. and you’re not alone. A lot of contemporary art isn’t worth trying to understand. Such heresy (spelling?) I know but that’s my opinion these days. The pink and blue hall was amazing though.

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