September 18 – November 17, 2019
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip
Art Director: Nicolas Fleming

Artists: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Gwenaël Bélanger, Katherine Boyer, Sandra Brewster, Hannah Claus, Erika DeFreitas, Julie Favreau, Nicolas Fleming, Iris Häussler, Lucy Howe, Gunilla Josephson, Lewis Kaye, Valérie Kolakis, Carmela Laganse, Heather Nicol, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Gord Peteran, Birthe Piontek, Yannick Pouliot, Adrienne Spier, Karen Tam, Kevin Yates, Shaheer Zazai, Shellie Zhang

FALL OPENING PARTY Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 7–9 PM | FREE

This fall, the Koffler Gallery presents Undomesticated, featuring the work of 24 artists over all three floors of Artscape Youngplace – the largest exhibition in the gallery’s recent history.

Through critical investigations of the domestic realm, Undomesticated considers the psychological, political and emotional layers that shape our sense of home and belonging. Detouring the objects and settings of dwelling spaces, the exhibition addresses an underlying impossibility to fully adapt to or tame our environments in order to construct places where our bodies and psyches can seamlessly fit in.

Driven by survival instinct, humans constantly transform landscapes and ecosystems in search of shelter, security, nourishment, and a more elusive notion of ‘well-being.’ With both positive and negative impact, these transformations seek to eradicate or control what we perceive to be ‘wild’ in search of economic and psychological benefits. Our views and treatment of the natural environment are paralleled in our homes where domesticating tendencies fully manifest in our endless pursuit of comfort.

Engaging with different aspects of the household territory, the artists in this exhibition explore both the influences of external pressures and the outcomes of inherent politics, ranging from diasporic and colonial experiences to aging or displacement. Working in a wide range of media, they transform the everyday to reveal its hidden, unyielding strangeness. Ubiquitous furniture, objects and materials are stripped of their familiarity to access deeper levels of relationship to our surroundings.

The exhibition extends from the Koffler Gallery into the hallways and stairwells of Artscape Youngplace. The look and function of these public spaces are disrupted by artist Nicolas Fleming who takes on a complex role as the art director of the exhibition, reframing the architectural context for the project and staging the artworks in an immersive environment. Working with building materials and techniques developed through his work as an art installer, Fleming diverts the primary functions of commercial supplies like drywall and plaster, blurring their status by enabling overlooked aesthetic attributes to supersede their intended purpose.

As the initial function of domestic objects is supplanted, the tension between their practical and artistic qualities generates uncertainty and destabilizes assumptions. These alienating ambiguities unwelcome our presence, inviting us perhaps to consider, like philosopher Theodor Adorno, that the highest form of morality might be to not feel at home in one’s own home.

Wednesday to Friday, 12–6 PM | Saturday & Sunday 11 AM–5 PM | Admission is FREE
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays & statutory holidays. The Koffler Gallery is fully accessible.


Undomesticated is generously supported by Lead Exhibition Sponsor, Partners in Art.

The Koffler Gallery is a forum for the presentation and development of contemporary visual art that reflects diverse cultural, material and aesthetic perspectives, generating critical discussions around ideas of our time. Featuring a year-round program of exhibitions, publications, public programs and educational initiatives, the Koffler Gallery fosters new production while equally aiming to expand the visibility of existing work by Canadian and international artists. The program positions the contemporary Jewish experience in a context of comparative discussions of identity, memory and place. The Koffler Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Image: Nicolas Fleming, Une causeuse, une distributrice d’eau, un vase. Exhibition view, Centre CLARK, Montreal (QC), 2018. Photo credit: Paul Litherland.


Artscape Youngplace | 180 Shaw Street, Suite 104-105 | Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
647.925.0643 | info@kofflerarts.org | kofflerarts.org

Tony Hewer, Director of Marketing, Communications and Archives
647.925.0643 x224, thewer@kofflerarts.org

The Koffler Centre of the Arts is a cultural platform that explores critical ideas and concerns of our time through exhibitions, publications, performances, conversations and digital initiatives. We examine complex issues in respectful, constructive discussions that position our Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices. Koffler Centre of the Arts acknowledges the support of the Koffler Family Foundation, Cultural Season Sponsor CIBC Wood Gundy, the Ontario Arts Council through the Community and Multidisciplinary Arts Organizations Program, our donors and patrons.