January 23 - April 28, 2017
Will Kwan is a Hong Kong-born, Canadian media artist whose work examines the ways that inequality is created and perpetuated through economic systems and cultural narratives. His work has been presented at the 2014 Folkestone Triennial, 2010 Liverpool Biennial, 2007 Montreal Biennale, 2003 Venice Biennale, MoMA PS1, The Cooper Union, ZKM (Karlsruhe), Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius), the Polish National Museum, Zendai Museum of Modern Art (Shanghai), the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, The Power Plant (Toronto), and The Western Front (Vancouver). Kwan has been artist-in-residence at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (Manchester), the Headlands Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Kwan's work is held in the collections of the M+ Museum (Hong Kong), Folkestone Artworks (Kent), and the University of Toronto. Kwan is an Associate Professor in Studio Art at the University of Toronto Scarborough and graduate faculty in Visual Studies at the University of Toronto St. George.
During his residency, Kwan will plan a new intervention in Toronto’s financial district and conduct research within the AGO’s collection to explore questions of scale within sculpture and landscape paintings.
The Forest, a new performance by former AGO artist-in-residence Will Kwan, was commissioned for Nuit Blanche 2017 (Saturday, September 30) and curated by Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The performance was a part of the Dundas Street Corridor Zone, titled Calculating Upon the Unforeseen organized by curator Clara Halpern.
The Forest is a performance that plays with the force and fragility of the human voice and the capacity of words to connect people across time and space. Inspired by the low-tech ingenuity of the “human microphone” – a technique used to convey speech at protests and rallies when the use of amplification is restricted – the performance relies on the voice-to-voice connection to carry the messages of a speaker through the gathered audience.
Occupying and radiating from the centre of the AGO, the words and stories that flow through the “microphone” are fragments of poetry and poetic text dating back to 1100 BC, by writers from around the world. They reflect on e xpanded conceptions of time, struggle and human evolution, while embodying a slowness that resists the pace of contemporary life.
The Forest was co-produced by the Art Gallery of Ontario and Nuit Blanche Toronto.