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The Art of the Archive: Ryerson Students and Alumni:

Artists: Alyssa Bistonath, Kyle Brohman, Julia Callon, Jenna Edwards, Tara Ernst, Daniel Froidevaux, Elisa Gilmour, Ben Lenzner, Marc Losier, Eugen Sakhnenko, Kate Tarini, Andrew Williamson.

September 29 – December 16, 2012
University Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre
Curator: Dr. Gaelle Morel

The exhibition The Art of the Archive is built on the reoccurring and popular theme of photographic and video archives and is divided into three parts: uses of the archive, representation of the archive and aesthetics of the archive.

The works of the "archival artists" (Hal Foster) gathered for this occasion combine two temporalities, the past and present, through reinterpretation and creative experience. The projects cover topics as diverse as the concepts of genealogy and family experiences, the evocation of childhood, the political history of the United States and the architectural standards of archival repositories. The appropriation of old objects and images, the representation of spaces devoted to these objects, or the playing with visual forms specific to the archive seem to respond to what Jacques Derrida called the "archive fever," an irrepressible desire to create a collective memory.

The works in this exhibition come from current students and recent alumni from the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University.


Exhibition Tour

Doina Popescu and Dr. Gaelle Morel
Wednesday, December 12
6:00 PM

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 PM

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

Three piles of archival material photographed with a black background
Fig. 1

Jenna Edwards, Accumulated Histories: The Collection of D. Ball & D. Marshall, 2008. Courtesy of the artist

A close-up shot of hands holding a book with photos in it
Fig. 2

Julia Callon, The Family Archive: A Book, 2011, three books, 6.” x 6.” each, and a box. Courtesy of the artist

Kids playing on a beach
Fig. 3

Ben Lenzner, This Is Just Batting Practice: A Tale About G.I. Joes, Tomato Boxes, Rivers & Reincarnation, video still, 2011. Courtesy of the artist

A warehouse with big crates and fluorescent lights
Fig. 4

Kate Tarini, RYE BSC002, 2011, colour inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist

Curator Bio

Dr. Gaelle Morel

Dr. Gaelle Morel is curator of the exhibition and contributor to the book. 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 – Panthéon-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.

Exhibition Catalogue

Fig. 1

Front cover of The Art of the Archive

The Art of the Archive: Ryerson Students and Alumni

Editor/Curator: Gaelle Morel
Essay Translator: James Gussen

The works by students and recent graduates of the Ryerson University School of Image Arts in this inaugural exhibition of the Ryerson Image Centre deal with such varied subjects as the notion of family history, the evocation of childhood, the political history of the United States and the architectural standards of the spaces where archives are housed. More specifically, this diversity of themes reflects a common irrepressible desire: to explore the past by appropriating, reinterpreting and reproducing its emblematic objects in a manner that responds to what the French philosopher Jacques Derrida has called "le mal d'archive" or "archive fever."

By using archival images, depicting the structures that house them and exploiting their aesthetics, the participating artists investigate common notions of time, memory and history. Using their personal experiences as a point of departure, the artists contribute to a collective imagination through their creative experimentations.

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Installation Shots

A man, alone, and two women examine photographs in the gallery
Fig. 1

The Art of the Archive (installation view), 2014 © Eugen Sakhnenko, Ryerson Image Centre

3 photographs of stacked archival material on the left wall, two photographs of colourful vertical lines on the right
Fig. 2

The Art of the Archive (installation view), 2014 © Eugen Sakhnenko, Ryerson Image Centre

4 photographs of stacked archival material
Fig. 3

The Art of the Archive (installation view), 2014 © Eugen Sakhnenko, Ryerson Image Centre