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The Flesh of the World

Installation view of The Flesh of the World

Works by:

Katherine Araniello, Ingrid Bachmann, Mowry Baden, Louise Bourgeois, Lisa Bufano and Jason Tschantré, Raphaëlle de Groot, Arseli Dokumaci, Helen Dowling, Lindsay Fisher, Erin Gee, Ann Hamilton, Sara Hendren, Wendy Jacob, Martin Kersels, Noemi Lakmaier, Tim Lee, Darrin Martin, Bruce Nauman, Carmen Papalia, Catherine Richards, Stelarc, Alexa Wright, Aaron Williamson, Artur Zmijewski

The Flesh of the World

June 25–October 10, 2015

Guest-curated by Amanda Cachia

A co-presentation of the Doris McCarthy Gallery and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery/University of Toronto Art Centre

University of Toronto Art Centre
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Inspired by the 2015 XVII Pan American and Parapan American Games and the work of the philosopher of phenomenology, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Flesh of the World is an exhibition presenting diverse and complex views of the body that might deepen qualities typically associated with competitive sports and games, such as the relationship between the body and technology, and how the senses might offer new forms of knowledge to corporeal performance and potential. The Flesh of the World will push the limits of the body and challenge dominant culture’s understanding of normativity and embodiment through work by Canadian and international artists who use the body as a medium.

The artists critically inquire and experiment with the shape and forms of bodies, proving that, within the context of both the exhibition and the field of athleticism itself, the body is unfixed and indeterminate. The exhibition also makes important connections between the language of complex embodiment and the language of sports, given that many of the issues relating to endurance, physical limits, failure, pathos, and the human psyche, inform both these fields. It is within the confluence of these two worlds, sometimes playful, sometimes reflective, that we can radically expand our ideas of the corporeal apparatus as a whole.

The works span across various media, including film and video installation, sculptures, framed photographs, drawings, paintings and several performances. The exhibition aims to emphasize how visitors might engage with this work across multi-disciplinary, multi-modal platforms. Just like the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games itself, this project offers up the artists’ work to the audience through a wider fulcrum of knowing the contours of our flesh.

Performance and Discussion

Erin Gee, What can a Vocaloid do?
Friday June 12, 6:30pm
Featuring Erin Gee and Sandra Annett
Trinity Square Video | 401 Richmond St W, Suite 376
Co-presentation of Trinity Square Video, Doris McCarthy Gallery, and Justina M. Barnicke/University of Toronto Art Centre


The Wait – Experimenting Expectation
Thursday June 25 & Friday June 26, 12-5pm
Featuring Raphaëlle de Groot
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Artist Talk

Falling Down & Falling Apart: A Brief Talk About the Work of Martin Kersels
Thursday June 25, 5:30pm
Featuring Martin Kersels (with ASL interpretation)
Video Documentation
University of Toronto Art Centre


Catherine Richards, Shroud Chrysalis I
Every Tuesday through June 25 – August 25, 12:30-1:30pm
University of Toronto Art Centre


The 19th Annual Janet E. Hutchison Lecture
“Because of”; Not “Despite of”: Difference as Generative Embodiment
Wednesday October 7, 4:30-6pm
Featuring Dr. Carrie Sandahl, Associate Professor, Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois
Video Documentation
University College, Room 140

Closing Reception

Featuring a Curator’s Talk with Amanda Cachia (with ASL interpretation)
Thursday October 8, 5-8:30pm
Doris McCarthy Gallery

Media Coverage

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from the Toronto Arts Council, the University of Toronto Scarborough, Manulife Financial, the Jackman Humanities Institute, the Hal Jackman Foundation,  and additional support for the performance series from Ignite Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am.

This program is supported in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Museums Association and it’s delivery of the Young Canada Works Program.

Title Image: Installation view of The Flesh of the World, 2015. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid.

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