This book explores Canadian artist Brendan Fernandes’s mediation of dance and Western collections of African art. It extends his cross-disciplinary 2016 Agnes exhibition Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies, curated by Contemporary Art Curator Sunny Kerr, developed in partnership with the Textile Museum of Canada, and presented at the Agnes 9 January–10 April 2016. The publication includes essays by specialists in art performance, dance history and African art: Delinda Collier, Kevin D. Dumouchelle, Amanda Gilvin, Amanda Jane Graham, Erica P. Jones and Nat Trotman. The publication’s striking design was created by Lauren Wickware, Hamilton, in consultation with the artist. This exhibition is on view at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto until 19 March 2017.
Collection-based exhibitions are platforms for vital conversations. Lost Bodies brought artist Brendan Fernandes’s visual and choreographic work into dialogue with two of the country’s best collections of African art: The Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art at the Agnes and the collection of the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC). Starting with the body as a place of knowing, Fernandes offered multiple points of connection that drew upon traditional costume, gestures of ballet and the choreographies of the vault. With this fresh approach to re-presenting African artifacts, he invoked a long-absent live-ness and reconsidered selections from both collections in a set of new video, print and spatial intercessions. Fernandes’s montage of classical dance and the collected object was concentrated around precise body language that raised questions about the visual and discursive habits that shape understandings of African art within Western museums. The exhibition Lost Bodies received the Ontario Association of Art Galleries’ 2016 Innovation in Collections-based Exhibitions Award.
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ISBN 978-1-55339-493-8; 128 pages, $27
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