Upon entering the Darling Foundry‘s Grande Salle, you will be greeted by two large, white staircases. Walk up to them, walk on them, walk across them. Once you get to the other side, take a seat on the steps: they not only serve as a way to immerse and invite viewers into Ulla von Brandenburg’s piece It has a Golden Orange Sun and an Elderly Blue Moon, but also double as a space to sit and watch the video piece accompanying the installation. You’ll see the stairs you’re sitting on in the video, too. Actors perform a choreography using colourful sheets of fabric, the sound of percussion in sync with their footsteps and movements.
Von Brandenburg is a German artist, based out of Paris. It Has a Golden Orange Sun and an Elderly Blue Moon is her first Canadian solo exhibition, curated by Alexandra Baudelot. She explained that her work explores five main themes: colour, ritual, movement, staircases, and fabric.
The idea of ritual and mirroring are particularly interesting in this piece, though all the other themes are present as well. Not only does the installation mirror the video, but the exhibition itself is mirrored at The Power Plant in Toronto, where it is being presented simultaneously. This year, she is also one of the four finalists for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in France.
In the Small Gallery, Catherine Lescarbeau‘s Le département des plantes is a fictional world documenting office plants through photography and installation. Lescarbeau is currently completing a doctorate in art studies and practices at the Université du Québec à Montréal. In Le département, she seeks to create a new kind of archive. Interested in an installation presented at the National Gallery – Environment (1969) by the artist collective N.E. Thing Co – Lescarbeau was intrigued by the plants included there. Her inquiry began here: did these plants serve an aesthetic, functional or decorative purpose?
Her archive, then, started with a collection of photographs: close-ups of plants from this exhibit. This then grew into a study of office plants at Université de Québec à Outaouais, in collaboration with its new gallery space OQU. At the back of the room, the Darling Foundry has even added their own office plants to the archive.
Through her fictional department, Lescarbeau is searching for the role of these plants, which she describes as “natural residue in austere environments.
It Has a Golden Orange Sun and an Elderly Blue Moon and Le département des plantes are on until August 21.