AUGUST 26 – OCTOBER 21, 2023
The White Water Gallery collaborated with Costa Rican artist Marton Robinson and Toronto-based curator soJin Chun to present the first exhibition in the gallery’s new physical space at 159 Main Street East.
Marton Robinson’s exhibition, Un Lugar Para Enterrarla (A Place to Bury), delves into the socio-political contexts implicitly embedded in urban and so-called “natural” landscapes. In turn, these unspoken codes determine the presence and absence of bodies within these spaces. Landscapes are never neutral or unbiased. Robinson questions what happens when “Othered” or racialized bodies enter these landscapes subverting the reading of these sites. Through this exhibition, he creates an all-immersive installation that mimics a billboard shop. Using structures similar to signage and advertising billboards on the side of highways, he readapts representation of Black bodies inspired by the myriad of Global representations of blackness and his cultural background as a Black Costa Rican. This show is in part inspired by the landscapes of Northern Ontario as well as other colonized landscapes and their role within a global capitalist market.
Utilizing “ethnopornograpy as a conceptual apparatus”, Robinson reconsiders the relationship between landscapes and those that have been erased from the dominant discourse whether in his birthplace of Costa Rica or where he resided in the United States and Canada. Ethnopornogrphy as a concept lays out the ground to consider how ethnography and pornography have a parallel lineage through the history of enslaved people and displays of racialized bodies as entertainment from the late 1800s. Ethnography paved the way to conceive racialized bodies as “Other” which used a similar process to create a narrative of hypersexualized black bodies in late 19th-century pornography. These processes were colonial tools to create a dynamic of power and control upon Othered identities. Robinson’s exhibition brings this narrative into the 21st century to expose the deeply embedded histories of colonization and subjugation in our contemporary times.
This is the last exhibition of the Archives of Resistance project curated by soJin Chun, which brings together contemporary artists that work with alternative archives as raw material for their work. This project includes online exhibitions by Jennifer Dysart (Canada), The Archive of Trans Memory (Argentina), and Catrileo Carrión Community (Chile/USA). Artists presented works that illustrate stories of resistance providing an intimate and nuanced look at the community history they represent. The exhibition also includes an audio collaboration with Toronto-based songwriter, musician, and DJ Vanessa John.
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC)- Partner
Established in 1967, CFMDC is a not-for-profit, non-commercial media arts distributor. We specialize in independent, artist-made work on film and video, including works from historically underrepresented communities. CFMDC advocates for a holistic understanding of production, distribution and exhibition that prioritizes artist rights, accessibility and the creation of new audiences through education and critical thinking. We have one of the most important collections of artist-made moving image on film in Canada that includes 16mm, 35mm and (s)8mm films.
Through a unique and successful national and international distribution service, CFMDC’s collection is available for preview, rental or sale for the purposes of research, exhibition, screening, and broadcast as well as for institutional and private acquisition. We distribute through physical media and online streaming; on multiple formats including celluloid, video, digital, and DCP.
Marton Robinson is based in Toronto, Ontario, and Los Angeles, California. The Costa Rican artist and scholar has an interdisciplinary background informed by his Integral Health, Visual Art and Communication studies. Robinson creates installations and performances investigating modes of communication and translation – of history, culture, and identity – that challenge the conventions of blackness in art history, mainstream culture, and “the official national narratives,” particularly in Costa Rica. In addition, the artist is interested in currencies of knowledge and informal economies based on informality to generate, redistribute, and obtain generational wealth. Robinson has participated in exhibitions in spaces such as: The Getty Center; Fundación Ars TEOR/éTica; X Bienal Centroamericana; Le Palais de Tokyo; Museo Amparo; 21st Biennial Contemporary Art Sesc Videobrasil; Trienal Internacional de Performance Deformes; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Robinson is a recipient of the University of Southern California Artist International Fellowship, Alter-academia Residency, The Fountainhead Residency, Eyebeam Fractal Fellowship, and Office for Contemporary Art Norway Residency.
soJin Chun is a Toronto-based curator, artist and educator that explores the alternative dialogues that emerge in-between cultures and disciplines. With a focus on collaboration, her work unpacks identities and narratives that exist outside of dominant representations. soJin’s diverse art practice has been informed by her personal experience living in the Korean diaspora in Bolivia and Canada. Through International artist residencies, soJin has developed a collaborative art practice working with local communities to resist stereotypes, gentrification and displacement. Chun has participated in international film festivals such as the Oberhausen International Film Festival (2020). She has exhibited Internationally in DIY art spaces, galleries and museums. In 2021, she participated in a group exhibition titled, Bop, Art & Labour at Alternative Artspace Ipo in Seoul, Korea. soJin’s video works are represented by GIV (Montreal), CFMDC (Toronto) and V-Tape (Toronto). Chun has a B.A. in Applied Arts from Ryerson University and a Masters in Communications and Culture from Ryerson/York Universities. She is currently an Assistant Professor at OCAD University in Toronto.
Vanessa John is a Toronto based songwriter, musician, DJ, and reprobate. She does it on her own terms as she would be at home with an acoustic ballad or an all out electric feedback fest. Internationally, she has played in clubs in Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, Guyana and Brazil. She has previously collaborated with experimental visual artists to create soundscapes for their images. Her latest project was for Luxando, a festival of new tendencies in noise music and experimental audio visual art. During regular work hours, she is a commercial post production manager and producer.