Juan Ortiz-Apuy: Tropicana

Juan Ortiz-Apuy, Tropicana, 2020. still, video, 7 min 32 s. Courtesy of the artist.

Juan Ortiz-Apuy: Tropicana

Art Gallery of Mississauga
July 8 to September 3, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday July 8, 2023 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM (PLUS! Meet the artist!)

When confronting the environmental crisis, in which the unbridled production of goods threatens the diversity of the natural world, it’s essential that we take an interest in how things are displayed, commercialized, and consumed, whether in brick-and-mortar store windows or online.

This touring exhibition, designed for youth aged 6 to 14, casts a critical eye on modern consumer society and advertising aimed at children, which often features animals, colours, sounds, and shapes designed to appeal to them. In Tropicana, Montreal-based Costa Rican artist Juan Ortiz-Apuy has created a visual and sound environment allowing visitors to explore the language of advertising and its ability to act on us in sometimes unexpected ways. The artist based his research on new marketing strategies that have emerged in the social media era, such as the phenomenon of “unboxing” and ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos. A considered investigation into the world of objects, this exhibition seeks to examine the way we consume today—always with a touch of humour—in order to better understand its future impact. Presented at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, which is situated next to Ontario’s largest shopping centre, this exhibition holds a special resonance.

Throughout Tropicana, the gallery will host an “Activation Station,” with exhibition-related activities available for children and families to engage with.

Tropicana was produced by VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine with financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du QuĂ©bec. Funding for the Art Gallery of Mississauga is generously provided by the City of Mississauga, the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Rama Gaming House and Charitable Gaming, and Community Good.

Workshop in the exhibition Juan Ortiz-Apuy, Tropicana, VOX, 2021. Photo: Michel Brunelle.

About the Artist

Costa Rica–born Juan Ortiz-Apuy has lived and worked in Montreal since 2003. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University. Working in collage and assemblage, he makes art driven by thinking around consumer goods, often employing humour to explore the advertising and media strategies associated with them. His works—which he presents in the form of multimedia installations—draw inspiration from design, art history and pop culture.

His work has been shown in several museums and art centres across Canada as well as abroad, including the Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain (Montreal), Birch Contemporary Gallery (Toronto), OPTICA, centre d’art contemporain (Montreal), ARTSPACE (Peterborough), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa), the IKEA Museum (Älmhult, Sweden), as well as at MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image in Montreal and Manif d’art 7 in Quebec City. Upcoming projects include a solo show at Open Space (Victoria), and residencies at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA, USA) and the Zentrum FĂŒr Keramik (Berlin). Ortiz-Apuy holds a BFA from Concordia University, along with a postgraduate diploma from the Glasgow School of Art and an MFA from NSCAD University.

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About Art Gallery of Mississauga
The Art Gallery of Mississauga is a public Gallery supported by the City of Mississauga, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, corporations, private citizens, and Gallery members. AGM is located at 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, ON.

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