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Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof: Relics of Lumen

January 20 – April 10, 2016
Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall, Ryerson Image Centre
Curator: Dr. Gaelle Morel

This newly-commissioned work by Canadian experimental filmmaker Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof weaves together representations of stars and night skies with images of people in transit, captured in still and moving images over the last century. Evoking displacement and the power of memory, this video stitches together mosaics, collages, superimpositions and patterns of imagery to offer a visual polyphony.

Pruska-Oldenhof sought inspiration from influential filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s 1972 short film The Riddle of Lumen, an impressionistic inventory of light sources and their different emotional registers. Her source material is drawn primarily from two archives—the Ryerson Image Centre’s Black Star Collection of photo-reportage, and still and moving images from the United States’ government agency NASA. Viewing these repositories as “archives of light,” the artist links found images together, framing them as tracings and monuments of displaced entities. Representations of sea travel, depicting vessels, immigrants and refugees, overlap with documentation of the Apollo 11 moon landing and astronomical discoveries from the Hubble Space Telescope, connecting the movement of people over water to celestial passages through space, and conjuring a sense of illumination and revelation.




Event(s):

Opening Party
Wednesday, January 20
6:00 – 8:00 PM

Artist Talk
Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof
Wednesday, February 24
6:00 PM

A half moon in the sky
Fig. 1

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Earthrise, 1968, gelatin silver print. The Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre

A astronaut on the moon, the image of another astronaut reflected in his helmet
Fig. 2

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), [An Apollo 12 astronaut is pictured with a container of lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 extra-vehicular activity] November 19, 1968, gelatin silver print. The Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre

A group of children holding hands in a circle
Fig. 3

Unknown photographer, Stern Magazine, [Children, Paris, France], 1962, gelatin silver print. The Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre

A woman lifts a boy to put him on a train, a man on the train helps
Fig. 4

Gerhard Gronefeld, [Man lifts child through train window], ca. 1945, gelatin silver print. The Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre

Images of constellations and galaxies overlaid on old photographs, on a background of stars
Fig. 5

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, still from Relics of Lumen, 2015, video installation. Courtesy of the artist

Artist and Curator Bios

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof
Artist

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof is a Toronto-based experimental filmmaker and Assistant Professor at the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University. Her films have been screened at the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014); the Images Festival, Toronto (2014); the Diagonal Film Archive, Seoul, South Korea (2008); and the 10th Festival des Cinémas Différents de Paris, France (2008). She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the National Film Board and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers Toronto (LIFT). Pruska-Oldenhof is a co-founder and active member of the artist-run Loop Collective.

Dr. Gaelle Morel
Curator

Dr. Gaelle Morel is an art historian and Exhibitions Curator at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada. She received her PhD in the History of Contemporary Art from Universite Paris 1 – Pantheon-Sorbonne, France. Her research and recent work deal with the figure of the artist as author in French contemporary photography. She also works on the artistic and cultural recognition of the medium in the United States in the 1930s. She was, until 2013, a member of the board of the Societe francaise de photographie, and a member of the editorial committee of Etudes photographiques, a bilingual peer reviewed journal on the history of photography. She edited Les Derniers Tableaux. Photojournalisme et art contemporain (Paris: Editions des Archives Contemporaines, 2008) and co-wrote with Thierry Gervais La Photographie published by Editions Larousse in France (2008, 2011). She was a recipient of a Terra Foundation for American Art Travel Grant in 2007, for her work on the American art dealer Julien Levy who closely worked with Berenice Abbott in the 1920s and 1930s.

Installation Shots

Hundreds of tiny images overlapping on four screens
Fig. 1

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof: The Relics of Lumen (installation view), 2016 © Larissa Issler, Ryerson Image Centre

Hundreds of tiny images overlapping on eight rectangular screens, text above reads "Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall"
Fig. 2

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof: The Relics of Lumen (installation view), 2016 © Larissa Issler, Ryerson Image Centre

Hundreds of tiny images overlapping on two screens, text beside reads "Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof. The Relics of Lumen"
Fig. 3

Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof: The Relics of Lumen (installation view), 2016 © Larissa Issler, Ryerson Image Centre