Wed, July 17, 6 pm — Special tour of Scotiabank Photography Award: Moyra Davey with Gaëlle Morel and Brian Sholis. 

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Grayson James: After Alexandria

October 30 – December 8, 2019
Student Gallery  


It is January, and a chill has sunk into my bones. I am about to read a book my mother has lent me. In the bottom corner of the first page I notice her handwriting, and in this moment I stop feeling quite so alone.


The book became a speaker for me. It became a site held between open and closed; a site like lips, or the sound of a travelling voice. I saw futures and pasts in the traces left by those who read before me. I saw the wavering line on a library book’s page, and I waited, hoping to hear someone call my name.


I use the ephemerality of the printed book as the starting point for an aesthetics of collaboration. I embrace the multiple hands that mediate and mark books in public space. I believe that the best archive is one that can be used, one that embraces the gradual loss of its objects, and one that invites its readers to collaborate. By framing the inevitable “death” of a book as something beautiful I celebrate how social relations manifest in public property, and I hope to foster a reading done in solidarity, rather than in solitude.



Opening Party for Grayson James: After Alexandria
Wednesday, October 30, 6–8 pm

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 pm

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted

Layered images of hands turning the pages of a book, holding a paper and making gestures, with black tape afixing the images to one another
Fig. 1

Grayson James, A Damaged Book/Learning How To Bind (detail), 2018, architecture prints, found objects, tracing paper, laser prints, inkjet prints. Courtesy the artist

Artist Bio

Grayson James

I am attracted to the worn concrete of a library’s facade, to the slow death of all things—a cherry petal in Spring spiralling down to yellow-green grass. I think of life like hiccups. 

I love the authorless and the antagonistic and also the heartfelt gaze of a friend and the words we whisper before we sleep. I am a person who is attracted to beginnings and to failure. I have always enjoyed a fire more than I have the embers.        

I am an artist and writer working in Toronto.