Teresa Carlesimo, a form of unrest, II, 2017, pigment print, collection of the artist
A form of formlessness: Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio
26 August–3 December 2017
Davies Foundation and Frances K. Smith Galleries
Curated by Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art.

When aluminum was first refined in the early 1800s, it was considered rare. As it was produced in greater abundance, it was rapidly devalued and used in “single-use” or “throw-away” items. For this show, Kingston-based collaborative duo Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio link this debasement to planetary ecosystem loss. They deform and defamiliarize building materials—PVC pipe, rubberized rebar, extruded acrylic rod, aluminum studs—to propose new patterns against social class and empire. In a gesture of  aesthetic taxonomy and reckoning, their shelter-like structure in the gallery employs video, mirrors, quotational museum display and strategic removals to weigh the compulsions of development on a finite planet.

A digital publication is available with a selection of images sequenced for your tablet or phone, with text by Carina Magazzeni.

Installation view of A form of formlessness_Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio.

Installation view of A form of formlessness:Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio. Photo: Paul Litherland

Installation image of the infinity mirrored interior of Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio's artwork titled, "a form of formlessness."

Installation view of A form of formlessness:Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio. Photo: Paul Litherland


Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio, who have worked together since 2012, incorporate common materials into their sculptural, media and participatory installation-based forms to disrupt familiar understandings of space. Their collaborative practice considers forms of value, labour and political economy through research-based and site-specific projects. The social character and political dimensions of the built environment are increasingly central concerns.

Teresa Carlesimo is an interdisciplinary artist currently pursuing a PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University where her research considers various systems of power, class and empire as integral to the analysis of environmental damage. In Fall 2016, she was an artist-in-residence at the National University of Ireland where her work addressed the visual culture of urbanization; upcoming artist residencies include Can Serrat and SÍM, The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists. Recent and forthcoming publications include Performance Research, PUBLIC, Art Papers and Blackflash. She has exhibited throughout Canada and the US.

Michael DiRisio is an artist and writer, and currently the Artistic Director of Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. His recent work explores direct democracy and alternative economies, through the documentation of the origin and development of social unrest and the construction of free stores in gallery spaces. His writing has appeared in Art Papers, Afterimage, C Magazine, Fuse Magazine, Esse and PUBLIC, with recent essays in BlackFlash and ETC MEDIA. He holds an MFA from the University of Windsor and has participated in exhibitions at Rodman Hall Art Centre, Artcite, Museum London and Eyelevel Gallery, with forthcoming exhibitions at the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre and Thames Art Gallery.

More info: www.teresacarlesimo.com and www.michaeldirisio.ca


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