The Power Plant presents BREATHLESS
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May 20–October 30, 2022
Artists: Flaka Haliti, Marguerite Humeau, Donna Kukama, and Julius von Bismarck
The Power Plant is pleased to present a unique partnership with guest curator Ala Roushan: BREATHLESS—a project arising from today’s urgent concerns for our shared atmosphere.
Conceived as a conceptual ecosystem, BREATHLESS manifests as an outdoor pavilion with integrated artworks that address the vulnerabilities of the breath. The pavilion builds upon architects Alison and Peter Smithson’s prototype, House of the Future exhibited in 1956—a time, much like today, characterized by threats from the air and by a fascination with climate control technology. BREATHLESS inverts the inaccessible private courtyard of the Smithsons’ show house into a public pavilion, challenging the closed condition of domestic space and the obsession with uncontaminated air.
BREATHLESS is animated by a cyclical rhythm from dusk to dawn, with Julius von Bismarck’s video installation transforming the pavilion’s air-filled walls, penetrating the enclosure with a fiery projection of a world engulfed in smoke and smog. As the sun rises, the video evaporates, revealing a hazy gaze in the interior of the pavilion and inviting audiences onto Flaka Haliti’s ground of shifting microparticles, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside—of both architecture and the body. As if emerging from the liquified ground and surviving suffocation, Marguerite Humeau’s imaginary creature of genetically evolved respiratory tracts breathes the air of a new atmosphere. Deep from within, Donna Kukama’s voice interrupts the circadian rhythm of the pavilion with the asynchronous cadence of her breath sharing personal narratives as we breathe together.
BREATHLESS is organized and presented in partnership with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022. The architecture and exhibition design are by Ala Roushan in collaboration with Charles Stankievech (University of Toronto).
BREATHLESS is grateful for the support of Director and Artistic Director Gaëtane Verna and her team at The Power Plant, including Adelina Vlas (Head of Exhibitions and Publications) and Jacqueline Kok (Nancy McCain & Bill Morneau Curatorial Fellow, 2021–23).
BREATHLESS is made possible with the generous support of: Nuyten Dime Foundation, Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, The Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin Charitable Foundation, Andrew Chisholm and Laurie Thomson Fund at Toronto Foundation, Susan and Larry Dime, Masoud Borumand, Rozeta Ghatari and Liza Mauer.
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