Micah Lexier at BMO's Project Room, Oliver Husain at AGYU
Tonight, the always-provocative (but equally hard-to-get-to) Art Gallery of York University's winter opens its winter show, Oliver Husain's "Hovering Proxies," where, the gallery tells us, "a new installation forms the backdrop for a new film filmed inside the
exhibition for the exhibition." Yes, I read it four times over, just like you did, and trying to untie the verbal knot (and knowing a little about Husain's work), I'm pretty sure it's a wry doubling of venue-as-subject, leaving the viewer dislocated from the space they inhabit and the artifice they see onscreen.
But drop that for a moment and consider the setting Husain conjures, of an internal garden in tropical Jakarta, in the hot season; if nothing else, it'll help take the edge off the gathering January chill. But I suspect it'll do a lot more than that, too. As ever, the AGYU performance bus leaves OCAD at 6 pm sharp, featuring a Wurlitzer electric piano wizard Mantler.
What I'm really looking forward to tonight is the reception for Micah Lexier's "I Am the Coin,"which will spend the year 68 stories above King and Bay streets at the top of the Bank of Montreal tower. It's a priveleged spot, BMO's Project Room, which opened last year with an installation by Montreal artist Adad Hannah; Lexier's installation is a suitably complex pecuniary puzzle that suits the institution and the artist's quizzical, figuring ways.
Thousands of custom-minted coins are arranged in a grid on the wall (that's a detail, above); each of them has a single letter. The bottom half of the grid, if read painstakingly -- there's no punctuation or other familiar guidance as to where sentences stop and start -- reveal a story by Toronto author Derek McCormack; the upper half is a mirror image of the lower half -- letters reversed, the story turning backwards on itself. So it seems appropriate that the story itself contains its own riddle: One of the coins is the narrator of the story, and the first hundred people to identify it get to keep a coin when the installation comes down at the end of the year.
All that aside, I'm really dying just to get a look at it: A wall of hand-polished coins, shimmering silver, each of them twinkling individually, distributing discrete beams of reflected light on the walls and floor. Lexier has never priveleged concept over form, giving both equal weight; the resulting beauty is a always a thorough delight.