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Figures of Sleep

Large leaves inside vibrant sleeping bag on grass

Works by:

Francis Alÿs, Rebecca Belmore, Louise Bourgeois, Chris Burden, Sophie Calle, Chris Curreri, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Rodney Graham, Tehching Hsieh, On Kawara, Hassan Khan, Liz Magor, Ron Mueck, Bruce Nauman, Gabriel Orozco, Jasmeen Patheja, Jon Sasaki, Mladen Stilinović

Polaroid of man laying in bed with doga
Questions projected in a wave pattern in various languages
Diptych of photograph man asleep clutching onto woman and man performing holding onto imaginary woman

Figures of Sleep

January 17 – March 3, 2018

Curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan

University of Toronto Art Centre
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Figures of Sleep, a major international exhibition, considers the cultural anxieties manifest in the popular and critical imagination around the collapsing biological function of sleep under economic, social and technological transformation. If the night was the space of mystic quandary, and a creative catalyst and spiritual and cultural resource, today’s globalized capitalism and market and military demands for 24/7 service hours are stretching human body and mind in unprecedented ways. Is sleep in crisis? Exceedingly, artists have adopted the motif of sleep as a cipher for material, aesthetic, existential and political considerations of these urgent cultural concerns.

Additional Exhibition Resources

Opening Reception

Thursday, January 25, 2018, 5-7pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Night of Ideas

January 25, 2018, 7pm-7am
Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle

Drop-In Tours

Every Friday, 2pm
University of Toronto Art Centre


Sunday January 21, 2018, 11:30–5pm
The tour starts at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and then departs for Art Gallery of Hamilton and Oakville Galleries.
For reservations please visit: email
$10 donation includes transportation to all galleries and afternoon refreshments

Curator’s Tours

Saturday, February 3, 2018, 2pm
Saturday, March 3, 2018, 11pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Extended Hours

Saturday, March 3, 2018, 12pm-12am

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council, with additional project support from the The Joan and Clifford Hatch Foundation. The Night of Ideas is supported by The Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Canada, Hart House, the Janet E. Hutchison Foundation, and TD Insurance. The Media Sponsors are NOW Magazine and CIUT-FM.

Title Image: Gabriel Orozco, Sleeping Leaves (Hojas durmiendo), 1990, Silver dye bleach print. 16 x 20 in./ 40.6 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

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