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John Latour, Smiling man and woman in formal dress sitting in front of a mirror, 2008

JOHN LATOUR: KINDRED SPIRITS

CENTRE SPACE (Toronto)
65 George Street

June 22 - July 27, 2013

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VIEWS OF THE SHOW  / ABOUT THE SHOW  /  WORKS   /   LINKS  /  ARTIST'S C.V.



VIEWS OF THE SHOW

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Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits

ABOUT THE SHOW

John Latour
Kindred Spirits

With age and the passing of time comes a sense of the “narrative arc” of people’s lives. For almost half a century, I have watched the lives of my friends and family members play out like novels in front of me. I have seen my parents age and die, my sisters lead eventful lives and pursue successful careers, and my god-daughters grow up and embark on their adult lives. And with the richness of this experience has come a growing curiosity about the past. I take great pleasure in my memories of childhood and in my ability to recall events that happened before some of my friends and colleagues were born. At the same time, I long for intimate knowledge of the early lives of my parents and grandparents. What was it like to live––to touch, taste, smell, feel, think––a hundred years ago? I yearn to better understand what came before me. I want not to live forever, but to transcend the bounds of my limited existence––to know, to know it all.

According to cultural historian Rosalind Williams, in our twenty-first-century world of rapid change, our need to understand the pattern of history is, in fact, vital to our survival. [1] Having to accept the limitations of our courte durée, we must satisfy our longing to connect with the past by, among other things, drawing upon our imaginative capacities. With the help of the creative and evocative work of historians, novelists and artists, we can situate the accounts of our transitory lives within the broader sweep of history.

Artist John Latour’s subtle and haunting work fuels the fires of our historical imaginations. Kindred Spirits presents thirty-five works, drawn from his output of the past seven years, in a variety of media, including sculpture, text- and photo-based work, all of which use vintage artifacts from the early twentieth century. The poignancy of these found objects is intensified through the artist’s modifications and interventions. An antique clock ticks backwards, the text of a gothic novel is transformed to reveal a secret message, a photographic portrait, depicting its subject as a ghostly spectre, metamorphoses into dots of white light. Transmuted in such a way as to emphasize the disintegration and disappearance of the material, the artist highlights awareness of the unknown.

Latour’s work provides evidence of the existence of those long dead and forgotten. Through the sensitive treatment and display of the traces of their lives, of what remains––necessarily fragmented, partial and incomplete––he effectively draws attention to what is not there. By encouraging viewers to fill in the blanks, he enhances their ability to, in a sense, conjure the dead. Animating these traces of the past, he deepens our relationship with history and the world, thus extending our imaginative grasp of our place in both.

– Writer: Scott McLeod, June 2013

1. Rosalind Williams, “The Rolling Apocalypse of Contemporary History,” in Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis, ed. Manuel Castells, João Caraça and Gustavo Cardoso (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012): 36.

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From June 22 to July 27, 2013 Centre Space presents Kindred Spirits by Montreal artist John Latour. This exhibition of recent and ongoing work explores the creative links between contemporary art and a disappearing past mediated through images, texts and objects.

Latour applies flecks of white paint to found photographs taken of individuals as well as intimate groups of family and friends from the early part of the 20th century. The erasure of these anonymous persons points to the gradual fading of all subjects over time. White paint is also used to erase all but a few words taken from the pages of 19th century gothic novels. New stories are created from the words that remain, and the pages are hung in antique frames like ambiguous proverbs from the past.

Kindred Spirits also presents two sculptural productions including the ongoing Apports (2010- ) and Time machine 2 (2009). The former is a series of works that incorporates transformed vintage found objects into sculptures referencing the phenomenon of “apportation” - the appearance of small objects during séances, believed to have been carried over from the other side by spirits. The latter is an antique clock that sits at the entrance of the exhibition. Minute by minute, hour by hour, the hands of this modified clock move in a counter-clockwise direction. As if through some form of wish fulfillment, it invites visitors to travel back in time.

The combination and juxtaposition of vintage images, fragmentary texts and occult objects in Kindred Spirits is an open invitation for viewers to imagine their own links between the seemingly unconnected persons, texts and objects in the exhibition.

The opening of Kindred Spirits takes place on June 22 (from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm) and will be accompanied by the Toronto launch of Rétrofictions (2012). This experimental and collaborative artist’s book juxtaposes six photographic works by Latour alongside six works of fiction by invited authors Jennifer Allen, Marina Endicott, Cynthia Imogen Hammond, Lea Nakonechny, Eduardo Ralickas and Jean-Éric Riopel. All are welcome.

John Latour is a Montreal-based visual artist whose work has been exhibited across Canada and abroad. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Karsh-Masson Gallery (Ottawa), Glendon Arts Gallery (Toronto), the MacLaren Arts Centre (Barrie) and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain (Montreal). Latour has a BFA (Studio) from the University of Ottawa, a MLIS (McGill University) and a MA in Art History (Concordia University). His work is included in both private and public collection in Canada and the U.S.


WORKS

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Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits  
Someone painting by the shoreline with two onlookers
2007
Found photographs with acrylic paint
7.6 x 10.2 cm (3" x 4")
  Young woman in sweater and skirt smiling modestly
2007
Found photographs with acrylic paint
9 x 6 cm (3.5" x 2.3")
   A bystander’s view of a religious procession.
Man in uniform standing in front of a sculpture of the Virgin Mary
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
10.9 x 7.9 cm (4.25" x 3")
  Two children dressed in white posing in front of piano
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
6.8 x 8.4 cm (2.5" x 3.25")
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits  
Well-dressed, young man standing alone
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
11 x 6.7 cm (4.5" x 2.5")
  Man in a sandy lot with hands in a Campbell’s box
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
9.5 x 7 cm (3.75" x 2.75")
  Smiling man and woman in formal dress sitting in front of a mirror
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
7 x 11.5 cm (2.75" x 4.5")
  Smartly-dressed man with a well-dressed woman in each arm. Woman on right wearing a locket around her neck
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
11.2 x 7.5 cm (4.5" x 3")
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits  
Man in white hugging tree
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
11.5 x 7 cm (4.5" x 2.75")
  Three women in the ocean
2008
Found photographs with acrylic paint
9 x 10.4 cm (3.5" x 4")
  Tall dandy with hand-tinted, red cheeks
2012
Found tintype with acrylic paint
8.7 x 5 cm (3.5" x 2")
  Young girl in white lace dress holding the back of a chair for suppor
2012
Found tintype with acrylic paint
8.7 x 6 cm (3.5" x 2.5")
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits  
Two brothers posing. One sitting, the other (younger) standing
2012
Found tintype with acrylic paint
9 x 6 cm (3.5" x 2.5")
  That sombre volume was blamed for your disappearance
2006
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 37.5 cm (8" x 14.75")
  Others will guess that I was the twin
2007
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 5")
  Only sailors seemed savage to the sea
2008
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits  
Even the starry suffer disappointments
2008
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
  Forget me
2008
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
  Death feared the unknown, and lively children
2009
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
  My past was gilded
2009
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits          
I read roses
2013
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
  My life was supernatural
2013
Printed text on paper with acrylic paint
20.5 x 12.4 cm (8" x 4.75")
 
   

SCULPTURE



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Time machine 2
2009
Found object (vintage clock), contemporary mechanism and glass, metallic and acrylic paint
53 x 27 x 13 cm (21" x 10.5" x 6")
  Apport 2
2010
Found object: spoon, wood, metal, paraffin wax
64 x 16 x 9 cm (25" x 6" x 3.5")

  Apport 4
2010
Found object: belt buckle, wood, metal, paraffin wax
64 x 64 x 9 cm (25" x 25" x 3.4")
  Apport 6
2010
Found object: bell buckle, wood, metal, paraffin wax
67 x 12 x 9 cm (26" x 4.75" x 3.5")
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits  
Apport 8
2010
Found object: spirit level, wood, metal, paraffin wax
67 x 23 x 9 cm (26" x 9" x 3.5")
  Apport 9
2010
Found object: razor, wood, metal, paraffin wax
64 x 18 x 9 cm (25" x 7" x 3.5')

  Apport 10
2010
Found object: gramophone horn, wood, metal, paraffin wax
62 x 52 x 40 cm (24.5" x 20.5" x 15.75")
  Apport 11-14
2012
Found objects: horseshoe, compass, pipe, 1946 pocket diary, wood, metal, paraffin wax
 


Kindred Spirits   Kindred Spirits          
Apport 8
2013
Found object: tin cup, wood, metal, paraffin wax
  Long Ago
2013
Found object (brass horn), fishing line, vinyl lettering
Variable dimensions

   
 

LINKS

- "Rétrofictions" an artist's book available at Formats Bookstore (Montreal) and Art Metropole (Toronto).
- John Latour's artist page on PFOAC website
- John Latour's website.



ARTIST'S C.V.

click here to download John Latour's recent C.V. (06/2013)

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