An Archive, But Not An Atlas

top: Eve Tagny, Jeannette Tagny, née Mapokam Kandoum, 2019; Camille Rojas, System of a Gesture, 2017.
bottom: Alex Jacobs-Blum, Onákdo:t, 2018; Curtiss Randolph, Over the Balcony from series My Father’s Son, 2017.

An Archive, But Not An Atlas

Curated by Liz Ikiriko

ON VIEW: April 27–June 2, 2019 / OPENING: Saturday, April 27th, 1–3pm

“An archive, but not an atlas: the point here is not to take the world upon one’s shoulders, but to crouch down to the earth, and dig.”
— Allan Sekula

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a group exhibition that explores personal and social histories as they are unearthed through movement, gesture, language, and land. Four emerging artists address unconscious memory as it is embodied across generations and geographies. Through photography, performance, and film, the artists’ knowledge is rooted in observing subtleties expressed in familial, domestic, or cultural locations. For full exhibition description, artist, and curator bios please visit

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a Featured Exhibition of the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and is presented in dialogue with Developing Historical Negatives, curated by Gabrielle Moser for Gallery 44. These thematically linked exhibitions investigate how artists engage the archive to question experiences of belonging, displacement, and situatedness in the Canadian landscape. Mining both personal and institutional narratives, the projects activate overlooked and marginalized histories, drawing attention to their ongoing resonance in the present.


Opening Reception and Curator’s Tour with Liz Ikiriko
Saturday, April 27th, 1–3pm
Join us in the gallery for refreshments and a curatorial walkthrough of the exhibition (tour will start at 1:30). Artists will also be in attendance. See below for location and accessibility information.

Live Performance: System of a Gesture by Camille Rojas
Saturday, May 11th, 1–3pm
Free public premiere of System of a Gesture, choreographed by Camille Rojas. In collaboration with Paul-John Elisha and Sarah Koekkoek. Performance will take place outside Youngplace; in case of rain, an alternate location will be announced closer to the date.

Reading Groups at Gallery 44 and Critical Distance
Saturday, May 18th, 12-3pm, at Gallery 44 and Saturday, May 25th, 1–3pm at Critical Distance
Join curators Gabrielle Moser and Liz Ikiriko in a conversation about the gestures artists and researchers use to activate the photographic archive. Reading out loud from performance studies scholar Diana Taylor’s book, The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), and photography theorist Tina M. Campt’s book, Image Matters (2012), the group will meet across both gallery spaces to consider the “archival choreographies” deployed by artists to develop alternate histories from private and public collections. Free but please RSVP to for more information.


Critical Distance is located in Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street btw Dundas and Queen Street in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood. Google Map

Artscape Youngplace and Critical Distance are fully accessible by Ontario standards, with a wheelchair ramp at the 180 Shaw Street doors, an elevator servicing every floor, and a fully accessible washroom on every level. The nearby 63 Ossington bus on the TTC is wheelchair accessible. All stairwell installations will be viewable from accessible locations.



Critical Distance is a not-for-profit project space, publisher, and professional network devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial practice and inquiry in Toronto, Canada, and beyond. With a focus on critically engaged, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary practices, underrepresented artists and art forms, and community outreach and education in art and exhibition-making, Critical Distance is an open platform for diverse curatorial perspectives, and a forum for the exchange of ideas on curating and exhibition-making as ways to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life.


Critical Distance is pleased to present An Archive, But Not An Atlas as a Featured Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the largest annual photography festival globally, with over 200 exhibitions and events from May 1-31 in greater Toronto. We are also grateful for the support of the Toronto Arts Council in making this exhibition possible.