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Sur Gallery presents Volatile Colour

Gustavo Artigas, detail False (Fire) Flags, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist

January 17-February 23, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 17, 2019 7-9PM
Latin American Speakers Series lecture: Gustavo Artigas, Wednesday, January 30, 7-9PM
Curator Tour: Friday, February 8, 1-2PM
Artist Tour: Saturday, February 16, 4-5PM


Volatile Colour is Gustavo Artigas’ first solo exhibition in Canada exploring colour as a means to play with our senses–our sense of truth, attempting to change our realities during dark moments in history–offering awareness to our surroundings and of others. Artigas’ work embodies a much more comprehensive account to the element of colour and to the creation of art objects. He places us in a space of distinct collective reflection on the precariousness of our times and makes us doubt affirmations of ‘truth’.

Artigas belongs to a group of internationally renowned contemporary Mexican artists who emerged in the late 1990s and is known for his works that expose extreme disaster and uncertain situations in the form of interventions, sound and performance art, site-specific installations, educational platforms as works of art, and interactive situations. Although throughout the years Gustavo Artigas has opted to experiment with unconventional structures, his most recent explorations entail colour, light and abstract painting as an essential format to tackle social interactions in unpredictable times. Yet, an underlying consistent theme continues to prevail in his work in which he addresses the unforeseeable of human existence as well as the toxicity of creative processes, all with an underlying message that the artist will never have answers only more questions.

The simulation of a burning museum (Panama Museum of History, 2003) or two pairs of American and Mexican football and basketball teams simultaneously playing against each other on the same court (The Rules of the Game, 2000)–create a tension between a helpless witness and the artist who apparently loses all control over the final outcome of his work. It is this theme of risk and unpredictability that Artigas claims over and over again as he delves into socially driven themes. It is no different when he embarks on the exploration of colour and facilitates a moment of contemplative reunion between his audience and his work. He now communicates with abstract shapes and colour seeking to distract our search for truth through a series of performative misconceptions, contradictory forms, continuing to introduce elements of surprise and offers new possibilities to an otherwise mundane and ordinary life.

Artigas’ ‘truth’ is uncertain, preferring a space for reflection, a simulated new vision where we can continue to play, be mesmerized by the beauty of colour and continue to find new meaning in art when all else fails us.


Gustavo Artigas, Malos Pasos, 2016.

About the Artist

GUSTAVO ARTIGAS Born in Mexico City is currently based in Toronto. Artigas’ artistic practice spans almost 25 years participating in various biennials such as: Biennial of the Americas (2013); Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Russia (2011), Architecture Triennial in Lisbon (2006); Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art (2004); End of the World Biennial, Argentina (2003); Prague Biennale (2002); Venice Biennale (2001); inSITE, San Diego (2000); and Havana Biennial (2000). Artigas’ work is part of the Museo Jumex (Mexico City), Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (Mexico City), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City, The Addison Collection in Denver, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Other relevant exhibitions include: Cromascopes: Transmission Events, TAB Gallery, Guadalajara (2016); RIO, Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City (2015); Gustavo Artigas / Vote for demolition, LAXART, Los Angeles (2009); Gustavo Artigas / Painting and Landscape, Galeria Hilario Galguera, Mexico City (2009); Tragicomedy, Caja Sol, Seville (2009); 10th Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (2007); Social Sculpture: A New Generation of Art from Mexico, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007); and Faites vos jeux! Art and Game since Dada, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2005), among others. Gustavo Artigas is a member of the National System of Art Creators, FONCA-CONACULTA.

About the Curator

TAMARA TOLEDO is a Toronto-based curator, artist and writer, graduate of OCAD University and holds an MFA from York University. Toledo is co-founder of the Allende Arts Festival and of Latin American Canadian Art Projects - LACAP. For over a decade Toledo has curated numerous group and solo exhibitions as well as launched the Latin American Speakers Series for which she has invited internationally renowned contemporary artists and curators to Toronto such as Gerardo Mosquera, Luis Camnitzer, and Tania Bruguera, among many others to articulate and discuss issues of identity and intercultural dynamics in contemporary Latin American art. Toledo has presented her curatorial work at various conferences in Montreal, New York, Vancouver and Toronto as well as written articles on Latin American contemporary art for ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse and Canadian Art. Toledo is presently the Curator of Sur Gallery.

About Sur Gallery

Sur Gallery is Toronto's first gallery space dedicated to the exhibition and critical engagement of contemporary Latin American art. Sur Gallery is a project of LACAP-Latin American Canadian Art Projects.

For further information or press inquiries please contact us at:

Gallery Hours:
Tues & Wed 10AM-2:30PM
Thurs & Fri noon-6PM
Sat 11AM-5PM

Sur Gallery, 100-39 Queens Quay East, Toronto (East of Yonge Street)

LACAP acknowledges the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, The City of Toronto through section 37 and the Toronto Arts Council. LACAP also acknowledges its sponsors and collaborators Art Links Inc., AVA Animation & Visual Arts, and Toronto Image Works as well as Muna Cann for the translation of the curatorial text of the exhibition.





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