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Extremely Minimal

photo of an installationThere is nothing special about Canadian interdisciplinary artist, Lee Henderson’s installation, Known Effects of Lightning on the Body (2014). Nothing particularly remarkable enough for it to be included in the group exhibit “Weight of Light,” curated by Darryn Doull as part of his University of Toronto Curatorial Studies MVS-degree requirement. Nothing a to-be-curator grad would feel necessary to show now, or first in order of the artworks on display at the school’s Art Museum, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, May 2-26, 2018. No, nothing of concern to academia, institutional thought, or the public.
Just three wooden benches enclosing a copper covered-projector and projection-screen, flanked by two speakers set on the ground of a red room illuminated by a single mirrored bulb hanging from the ceiling atop. That’s it; nothing else. Not even a change in the repetitive sequence the video plays of one Redbird match lighting another and burning until extinguished. No.
This is that life, death and life-after-death thinking you’ve come to learn about through books, classes and people you believe are better at understanding these sorts of things than yourself. You know those human-experience things like the chemical reaction to start a fire or develop a picture in a darkroom. That metal is a conductor of an electrical current but wood is not. Or what about that lightning strikes before thunder is heard? That is, unless it is made to sound by a struck match, recorded off-camera. Yes! That kind of thinking! The one where the facts are plain, the fiction is the art, and the separation of the two is empathetic, perhaps even predictable; so unlike today. No, there is nothing of importance from that which satisfies in its nature to take charge. Nothing foremost at all.
Weight of Light, May 2-26, 2018,

Natalie Shahinian, Toronto

Volume 32 no 6 July/August 2018 p 33

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Stan Oregon

Hi Manuel,
How did you resist in writing your review of such a sad installation? Has Lee Henderson any plans for the future, if any?

Miklos Legrady

Very subtle criticism; you do appreciate some aspects
but we feel that he could do better. Agreed!

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