Tannis Nielsen, Creation (detail). Work in progress. Courtesy of the artist
Act so that there is no use in a centre.
These are the words that open “Rooms,” a chapter in Gertrude Stein’s experimental 1914 publication Tender Buttons. I have been thinking a lot about centres lately—and Gertrude Stein. In my imagination I liken Agnes Etherington to Gertrude Stein and the Etherington House to Stein’s salon: a gathering place for artists and ideas to circulate and to mobilize. To be set free.
Of course, we have not been gathering much over the past year and the idea of the home, vis-à-vis the house, has been radically altered; our rooms have functioned as many kinds of spaces—including ofﬁces, archives and classrooms. But with no centre to use as a home base, we are free to be iterative, scalar, entangled, and circuitous. This compels me to ask: what does an art centre centre? As we prepare to create our new home through Agnes Reimagined, it’s time to set hospitality in motion, inviting new ways of working into the museum. This season we displace centres into circuits and relay across seasons: our spring and summer exhibitions and programs evolve into fall and winter. Hence, this edition of At Agnes is only part one of two.
We welcome you to join us on this transformative journey as we reconceive our activities along a continuum and constellate exhibitions and programs to mobilize new connections along the way. Assemblages of moving energies, these exhibitions and programs are forms of research as well as opportunities to reﬂect on our own practices as a museum, one that does not privilege any centres—whether they be time periods, world views, or localities. They will transport us to other worlds in poetic, sensory and vital ways at the threshold of in/visibility.
Emelie Chhangur, Director and Curator