Place Settings: Part II

Adrià Julià, Larissa Sansour, Reza Nik

Curated by Noa Bronstein

Presented by Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Various dates & locations from August through September, 2022

Place Settings continues this summer with performance-based projects staged throughout the city of Toronto. Each project engages in a discursive gesture that considers new possibilities at the intersections of food practices and public space, revealing the shareable and relational qualities of both.

Place Settings II launches August 21st with Reza Nik’s sofreh for two. See a schedule of the upcoming projects below.

Place Settings is a large-scale, durational project that considers how food functions to connect and disrupt. Focusing specifically on the intersections of food, public space, and architecture, Place Settings points to formal and informal structures that offer forms of nourishment, be they physical, emotional, social, or political.

Place Settings addresses these wide-ranging concerns through installations and programs, engaging with systems of food distribution and consumption through their spatial forms. Each of the artists within this project reflects on how relationships to food are often informed by public or shared space. The architectures of food become sites of negotiation, and each artist’s work creates an opportunity to interrogate the infrastructures that produce and circulate what we eat.

The multiple points of engagement realized through Place Settings are intended to speculate on the potentials of public sharing and social transformation at the centre of food-focused arts programming. Through artistic practice and critical inquiry, this project is a sustained exploration of the possibilities that might emerge when we resist the idea that food is purely transactional and instead consider the complex entanglements of space and sustenance.

Reza Nik, sofreh for two, 2022

Reza Nik: sofreh for two
Live Performance

Date: August 21, 12pm – 2pm
Location: Iranian Plaza (6075 Yonge St, North York)

Reza Nik’s sofreh for two references both Iranian food and drink carts and Sofreh, a loose term translated to a textile on which food is served but that often functions as a shorthand for various preparations, practices, ceremonies and rituals. This improvisational performance is mediated through a roving structure that considers the spatial facets of food and feasting as narrated through diasporic and intergenerational experiences and memories.

Larissa Sansour, Soup Over Bethlehem, 2006, Film, 9’

Larissa Sansour: Soup Over Bethlehem
Film Screening

Date: September 9, 7pm – 8pm
Location: 401 Richmond Rooftop
Free Admission – Register on Eventbrite

Soup Over Bethlehem depicts an ordinary Palestinian family, Sansour’s own, around a dinner table on a rooftop overlooking the West Bank city of Bethlehem. What starts as a culinary discussion about the national dish ‘mloukhieh’ soon evolves into a personal and engaging conversation about politics – thereby emphasising the symbiosis of food and politics so indicative of the Palestinian experience. (Description courtesy of the artist).

This screening of Soup Over Bethlehem will be accompanied by a response to the film by Serene Husni, addressing various concerns ranging from language and food histories to the complexities of ‘national dishes.’

Adrià Julià, The Penitential Tyrant: Dolores Is Pain, 2019

Adrià Julià: The Penitential Tyrant: Dolores Is Pain

Date: September 16, 7pm
Location: Art Gallery of Ontario – Jackman Hall
Free Admission – Register Online

Offering a meditation on the history of production, consumption and expansion of popcorn in modern colonial history, The Penitential Tyrant: Dolores Is Pain reflects on the historical and socioeconomic intricacies of the global corn industry and its relationship to Mexican culture and the popularization of popcorn in the United States after the Great Depression, especially in regards to popcorn’s connection to cinema.

Adrià Julià’s film-performance The Penitential Tyrant: Dolores Is Pain is presented in conjunction with the AGO’s exhibition Faith and Fortune: Art Across the Global Spanish Empire.

Also on view on the Billboard at 180 Shaw Street throughout the month of September: A Very White Flower, 2022 by Adrià Julià.

About the Artists

Adrià Julià received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, a Maisterschüler from the Universität der Künste Berlin, and a BFA from Universitat de Barcelona. His practice includes installations, film, photography, and performance. Solo exhibitions include those at the Miró Foundation (Barcelona), Tabakalera (San Sebastián, Spain), Museo Tamayo (Mexico City), Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach, California), Project Art Centre (Dublin), LAXART (Los Angeles) and Artists Space (New York). He participated in the Lyon, São Paulo, Mercosul, Kochi-Muziris, and Jakarta Biennales.

Reza Nik is a Toronto-based licensed architect, artist and educator. He is the founding director of SHEEEP, an experimental practice working at the intersection of community, culture and architecture. Reza has a background in Art History and he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. His research is focused on a deeper dialogue between the socio-political nuances of the urban context and playful experimentation. Disrupting the traditional architectural processes and institutions is at the forefront of his pedagogy and practice.

Larissa Sansour was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Bethlehem in Palestine. Central to her work is the dialectics between myth and historical narrative. Her recent work uses science fiction to address social and political issues, dealing with memory, inherited traumas, power structures and nation states.

In 2020, Sansour was the shared recipient of the Jarman award. Her work is shown in film festivals and museums worldwide amongst which, the Tate Modern, MoMA, Centre Pompidou and the Istanbul Biennial. In 2019, Sansour represented Denmark at the 58th Venice Biennale. Her most recent solo shows include Copenhagen Contemporary in Denmark, EMST in Greece and Bildmuseet in Sweden. She lives and works in London in the UK.

All images courtesy of the artists.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council, City of Toronto, and ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-22.

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