Rah Eleh: Spoiled Milk
September 30 – December 10, 2023
Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville
Curated by Megan Kammerer
The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC) is thrilled to announce our final exhibition program for the 2023 season. We proudly present Spoiled Milk, a solo exhibition featuring new work by the Toronto-based video, digital, and performance artist Rah Eleh. This multi-media installation is on view from Saturday, September 30 – Sunday, December 10, 2023.
Milk—or our existence in proximity with milk—presupposes a lexicon of aphoristic language that applies to many social situations: to skim, to condense, to homogenize, to lactate, to express, to culture, to curdle, to separate. Across digital platforms, however, milk has rapidly soured into a symbol of white supremacy.
In her expanded practice, Eleh’s experimental work blends philosophical ideas, parody, and allegory to highlight the boundary between gender, national, and ethnic identity. With humour and great conceptual vigour, she employs an array of materials, new media, visual cues, and storytelling techniques to prompt reflection on our virtual spaces and asymmetries of power.
Spoiled Milk expands upon this practice as the artist investigates broad themes of alienation, migration, racial violence, microaggression, and radicalism in the digital space. The immersive installation underscores an increasing need for vigilance as we identify and address social attempts to co-opt symbols and everyday language for extremist purposes. Viewers are encouraged to reflect upon historical identity markers, interrogate hierarchical relationships, and propose new resistive or emancipatory futures beyond our present landscapes. We invite you to question whether people can become spoiled in their privilege. When does privilege spoil our social interactions and cause our digital dynamics to sour? Do certain performances of identity or historically established power structures have an expiration date in the colonial project?
About the Artist:
Rah Eleh is a Toronto-based video, digital and performance artist and a PhD candidate at the die Angewandte (University of Applied Arts) in Vienna, Austria. Eleh’s work has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at spaces including: Venice Biennale (Palazzo Mora), Nuit Blanche (Toronto), Museum London, Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa), Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown, Massachusetts), Miami Art Basel, The National Museum (Oslo, Norway), Vögele Kultur Zentrum (Pfäffikon, Switzerland) SOMA Berlin (Germany), VBKÖ (Vienna, Austria), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece).
She has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Long-list 2023 Sobey Art Award, Chalmers Arts Fellowship, SSHRC Fellowship, and several OAC, TAC, CCA grants. She has been awarded many residencies including the Intergenerational LGBTQ Artist Residency (Toronto Island, 2019), Koumaria Residency (Greece, 2016), Studio Das Weisse Haus (Vienna, 2014) and the Artslant Georgia Fee Residency (Paris).
About the VAC:
The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC) is a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery and education centre located in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada—forty-five minutes east of Toronto. The organization was incorporated to deliver new contemporary art programmes to the wider Durham Region and beyond. The VAC has a 47-year history of community engagement, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds in a creative place for artmaking and learning.
The VAC is not yet a fully accessible building with stairwell access to our third-floor Loft gallery. Accessible parking is available with front entrance access via ramp. Outward-opening doors permit access to our exhibition spaces. Although these doorways are not automated, our staff is happy to assist visitors as needed. Please call or email us if you require additional accommodations so we can meet your needs or provide extra seating. Admission is free and all are welcome.
Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 143 Simpson Avenue, Bowmanville, Ontario, L1C 2H9
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Spoiled Milk is organized by the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Partners in Art, and the Ontario Arts Council.