Monday, June 26, 2017

Ydessa Hendeles at The Power Plant

In the final years of her Toronto foundation, Ydessa Hendeles began experimenting with a new form of art based on juxtaposing art and historical objects.
The Milliner's Daughter at the Power Plant in Toronto continues this work. It is her most ambitious, unified and successful project to date. 
The Milliner's Daughter is installed in seven rooms. From Her Wooden Sleep... (2013), is a room full of wooden artists' manikins. The manikins are presented in large groups
and more intimate, private groupings.
Bill particularly liked this life-sized articulated male figure
and I loved this narcissistic manikin enjoying its reflection.
In THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW (2006-2011) Hendeles juxtaposes a Deco-esque automaton car/airplane with framed reproductions of Gustave Doré's illustrations for Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Here is Doré's illustration of the Mariner with his burden, the dead Albatross, around his neck. 
An oversize key with a Jumbo the Elephant logo awaits the winding up of the automaton car. (More about "Jumbo" later.)
When the car converts into a plane its front grill becomes a propeller.
In Crypt (2016)
a life-sized Santo figure, 
a reclining manikin in a vitrine
and a sitting manikin share a eerily lit room.
The narrow Fleck Clerestory houses a new piece: Blue Beard, 2016
with its looming pair of male and female manikins in vitrines.
 Canadian Child (2009) consists of two elements -- a photo of Ydessa as a child on a bike with a Union Jack and an oversized bicycle bell.
The Blue Beard sculptures look good from the second floor gallery.
The next room presents The Dead Jumbo (2011), with a newspaper photo of Jumbo the Elephant's death in St Thomas, Ontario 
along with Jumbo's obituary and a little tin bulldog reading the obit.
Note the "Jumbo" wind-up key that we last saw in the BIRD THAT MADE room.
Finally we visited Marburg! The Early Bird! (2008-2016) -- a room with a vitrine with the impoverished fairytale hero and his inheritance, Puss in Boots.
The Puss in the vitrine is particularly creepy.
By the way, keep an eye on the shadows. The "staging" and lighting of the rooms is terrific.
On the floor at the entrance is a very enlarged version of Gustave Doré's illustrated Puss in Boots book with an oversized pair of spectacles. The book is as big as a child's bed.
We loved this original oil painting by Doré of the famous cat in fierce form (note the mouse-snack hanging from his belt!).
Hendeles was born in Marburg when her parents settled there after they left Auschwitz. It is one of the German towns now featured in the Brothers Grimm tourist trail. 
There are many tightly woven threads in this exhibition. We've already been back for a second look. On until September 4th.

No comments:

Post a Comment