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News from the near future

10 January 2022

2022 marks a passage in Agnes’s history. At the end of this year, we close our facility. With an integrated program that performatively reflects this process of transformation and change, 2022 brings audiences along with us by making public the behind-the-scenes work and curatorial thinking that underpins our future plans.

Over the course of this year we reflect, retreat, rehome and reimagine. Perhaps the hermits in The Dark Room exhibition are a guide? We, too, are in a phase of introspection, looking for answers within. Our upcoming Summer Institute on The Curatorial marks a mid-way point in the year; another moment for pause and reflection, as well as for preparation.

2022 begins with a weave. Twinned solo exhibitions by two Canadian artists, Chris Curreri and Tom Thomson, entangle stories of authenticity, art history and the artist’s studio. Exposed through the lens of provenance and legacy—whether by historical fact or fictional queering—the artists show us how to work with forms of folded time; similar curatorial questions are being asked from two different time periods, subject positions and styles.

We draw on last year’s experimentation and continue to prototype new ways of working. A series of exhibitions emerge from our fall Studios in Solitude micro-residencies; we show the “hidden currents” manifest in the work of past Koerner Artists-In-Residence, connecting the artists’ studios to artist-led pedagogy; we go nomadic as we welcome the Indonesian artist collective Jatiwangi art Factory (JaF) and their terracotta ensemble, Lair, to Kingston in our collaboration with The Isabel, local musicians and ceramicists and the Toronto Biennial of Art; and we host Rajni Perera in a sustained way this year as Agnes’s 2022 Stonecroft Artist-In-Residence, capitalizing on this artist’s prophetic aesthetic in a major commission for Agnes’s new home.

But, if in Agnes Reimagined we return Etherington House to a home to create a live-in artist residency, we must also rehome Agnes now as a preparatory study. This season kicks off a year-long series staged in Etherington House. Beginning with the “summoning of an investigative commons,” where social activities are re-energized, A guest + a host = a ghost is followed by Berlin Reed’s “pairings” in the gastro-experimentation Brown Butter. Perhaps these artists are reversing guest/host relations as they smooth our transition, grounding Agnes’s re-emergence as a living space in Agnes Reimagined, but as Reed reminds us: “some bites may taste or feel unpleasant; experiences may jar rather than soothe.” We arise from these experiments and experiences as a more resilient art centre poised to meet the challenges to come, which include, in 2023, leaving our home altogether!

Along the Way this winter we get out of the museum to practice elsewhere. Artist JP Longboat and a playgroup of interdisciplinary protagonists lead us in a project that connects with Haudenosaunee ways—including preparing a bundle as a way of readying to go out on the land—awakening us to the peripatetic practices we prepare for during our closure.

As we like to say: Agnes Reimagined is a long-term social practice project, with architecture as its medium and the curatorial as its methodology. This makes our future home a proposition from which new museological practices emerge. So … let’s begin!

Emelie Chhangur, Director and Curator

Portrait of Emelie Chhangur

Footnotes
Image Credits

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