Philippe Ramette, Irrational Walk, 2003,

(Left) Philippe Ramette, Irrational Walk, 2003, © Marc Domage, Courtesy Galerie Xippas
(Right) Erwin Wurm, Outdoor Sculptures, Taipei, 2000, © the artist

CONTACT 2007: The Constructed Image

May 1 - 28, 2007


An installation of photographs in the St. Patrick subway station

During the month of May, CONTACT 2007 showcases the ever-evolving, creative possibilities of photographic representation through a succession of public installations, exhibitions and programs, all addressing the theme of the Constructed Image.

At St. Patrick subway station, the everyday meets sculpture and performance. The photographs of Erwin Wurm and Philippe Ramette, installed on opposite sides of the subway platform, invite us to reconsider the ways we interact with objects, the world and each other. Their works share strong affinities: both artists began as sculptors and use sculpture as a starting point for creating their surprising and humourous performance events for the camera.


Austrian artist Erwin Wurm solicits volunteers to enact short performances on the street. He interrupts the everyday movement of the street – our comings and goings – and injects a sense of the absurd as well as a sense of the poverty of our interactions (bumping into each other, asking for directions, making furtive eye contact) in public spaces. The human bodies, pressed into such strange, tenuous situations, become sculpture, a clever reworking of the conceptual and performance art of the 1960s and 1970s. The casual, snapshot-quality of the photographs lends the events an air of both the spontaneous and the banal, a sly swipe at the aesthetics of street photography.

SELECTED WORKS, 1990-–2006
Philippe Ramette, who lives and works in Paris, builds specialized prostheses that he wears, hidden under his black suit, to put himself into what he calls “irrational postures,” gravity-defying situations that enable his body to experience what should have been left to the imagination. He choreographs the scenes and actually enacts each “posture” himself. Ramette presents a universe where human beings oscillate between moral baseness and spiritual grandeur, between the desire for damage and the desire for freedom. His sculptural objects amplify the potential of the body while at the same time engaging ideas about how it is that we gather knowledge about the world.

Ramette will participate in a panel discussion, “The Constructed Image: A European Perspective,” at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W) on Saturday, May 5, 12-2pm.

This installation is co-presented by CONTACT and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and proudly sponsored by Concord Adex Developments Corporation as part of their Private Developer Public Art Program.

Curated by Sophie Hackett and Bonnie Rubenstein.

Toronto Photography

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