Your source for art news from the AGO and beyond.

Presented by Signature Partner

Biennial hot picks

The Toronto Biennial of Art has arrived, bringing free art and programming to sites across the GTA. But where to start? Let us tell you.

Andrea Carlson, Cast a Shadow (2021)

Andrea Carlson, Cast a Shadow (2021). 117 x 457 cm approx. Acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, coloured pencil, and graphite on a suite of 24 paper segments. Image courtesy the artist and Bockley Gallery. Photo by Rik Sferra. On view at 72 Perth Avenue, as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, 2022. Courtesy Toronto Biennial of Art.

What Water Knows, The Land Remembers, the second edition of the Toronto Biennial of Art (the Biennial/TBA), opened March 26, with much excitement, welcoming 37 artists, local and international, to nine different sites across the city.  

Led by curators Tairone Bastien, Candice Hopkins and Katie Lawson, with contributions from former TBA curators Clare Butcher and Myung-Sun, this Biennial is incentive to explore and rediscover the city for Torontonians in particular. In 2019, the focus of exhibition and programming sites was the Toronto shoreline. This time, the curators are moving inland, drawing our collective attention to the many waterways, both above ground and hidden, which shape this place.

What Water Knows, The Land Remembers,” say the curators, “draws from polyphonic histories sedimented in and around Toronto, revealing entangled narratives and ecologies across time and space. This second edition of a two-part biennial extends and deepens concepts of relationality, envisioning an expansive form of kinship—between curators, with artists and collaborators, and with the human and more-than-human. Biennial sites are grouped in relation to these seen and buried waterways, and follow the trajectories of Etobicoke Creek, the Laurentian Channel, Garrison Creek and Taddle Creek.”

On view through June 5, we can’t wait to start exploring. Here are just a few of the sites we're rushing to see. 

72 Perth Avenue

The spiritual and administrative home of the Biennial, 72 Perth Avenue is a mere stone's throw north from MOCA, bordering the West Toronto Railpath. A former church, the site is host to audio works by Japanese artist Aki Onda, works on paper by Andrea Carlson, an outdoor install by Ghazaleh Avarzamaniand, as well as a new edition of Nadia Belerique’s installation HOLDINGS, featuring plastic barrels, stained glass and various found objects. 

Nadia Belerique, HOLDINGS

Nadia Belerique, HOLDINGS, 2020-present. Plastic Barrels, Stained glass, copper tape, lead, pouring medium, various found objects, fabric, photographs, metal frame. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. On view at 72 Perth Avenue, as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, 2022. Photo: Toni Hafkenschied. Courtesy Toronto Biennial of Art.

Arsenal Contemporary Art

A private contemporary art and cultural space founded by Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Arsenal is located north of MOCA, at 45 Ernest Avenue. For the Biennial, it welcomes a selection of sculptures and wearable artworks by Amy Malbeuf, a painting by Pakistani artist Waqas Khan, a new film Mogaje Guihu, El nombrador de plantas / Fogaje Guihu, The plant namer, by Abel Rodríguez, and works on paper by his son, Aycoobo, among others.

Aycoobo / Wilson Rodríquez, 4 elementos del origen, 2021

Aycoobo / Wilson Rodríquez, 4 elementos del origen, 2021. Acrylic on paper 70 x 100 cm. On view at Arsenal Contemporary Art, Toronto as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, 2022. Courtesy Toronto Biennial of Art.

Small Arms Inspection Building 

Once a munitions plant, the Small Arms Inspection Building was reborn as an arts space in 2018, following significant environmental cleanup. Located just east of Dixie Road, at 1352 Lakeshore Road East, in Mississauga, the airy industrial building is host to numerous Biennial artworks, highlighting human impact, extraction and geological time.  On view is new work by former AGO X RBC Artist in Residence Timothy Yanick Hunter, Indonesian art collective the Jatiwangi art Factory (JaF) and a new commission by Jamaican-born Canadian artist Camille Turner.

Camille Turner, Nave, 2021-2022

Camille Turner, Nave, 2021-2022, 00:12:34 (H:M:S), three-channel 3840 x 2160 video installation. Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art.  On view at Small Arms Inspection Building, Mississauga, ON as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, 2022. Photo: Toni Hafkenschied. Courtesy Toronto Biennial of Art.

5 Lower Jarvis 

A part of Daniels Waterfront, home to offices and art space, 5 Lower Jarvis stands in the shadow of the Redpath Sugar Refinery.  On view here are three recent works from acclaimed artist Brian Jungen, video works by British artist Susan Schuppli and a multimedia work by Tsēmā Igharas and Erin Siddall, entitled Great Bear Money Rock. Co-commissioned by the Biennial, this work features a 16mm film alongside glass bubbles, crystals, silk prints, prisms and water from Great Bear Lake.

Brian Jungen, detail, Plague Mask 3 (fever dream)

Brian Jungen, detail, Plague Mask 3 (fever dream), 2020, nike air jordans, 17 x 15 x 32 in. (43 x 38 x 81 cm) Photo: Rachel Topham Photography. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. On view at 5 Lower Jarvis, as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, 2022. Courtesy Toronto Biennial of Art.

For more details about the Toronto Biennial of Art, including site hours, upcoming programming, podcasts and publications, visit torontobiennial.org

Stay tuned to AGOinsider for more details and stories about art from the Biennial and around the world, delivered straight to your inbox.

Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.
You can unsubscribe at any time.