Opening Reception with artist: Thurs May 24, 6 – 9 pm
Artist Talk: Sat May 26, 2 pm
From Brooklyn, New York, Itamar Jobani works at the cusp of contemporary sculpture. Jobani’s signature balance of craftsmanship, innovation, and new technologies has earned him museum shows as well as residencies in Glasgow, Berlin and at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. His work is informed by studies in fine art, film, and philosophy; it is recognized internationally for its conceptual lucidity.
Jobani’s first Canadian solo show, People of the 21st Century, opens as CONTACT winds down. People of the 21st C. explores the life-work of German photographer August Sander (b. 1876) though sculpture. Jobani interfaces with August Sander’s aspiration to quantify and visually map his social environs.
From 1911 through 1950 August Sander invested decades in a collection of portraits, Menschen des 20. Jarhunderts (People of the 20th Century), to capture the zeitgeist unique to Germany. Sander witnessed the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic, was persecuted during the Nazi regime, and survived two world wars, all the while utterly committed to objective photography. He used simple, sincere chapter titles to organize Menschen and pin-point identity: The Farmer, The City, The Artists, Woman… His subjects are anonymous, his photos undated, organized by categories that Sander considered “archetypes” of 20th century society.
Using sculpture and installation, Itamar Jobani reboots Sander’s project one hundred years later on its centenary. It is fitting that today Menschen is extended into three dimensions—after all, the internet is hailed as a virtual parallel universe, another dimension mirroring our reality. Playing with this analogy, it is particularly interesting that the materials of People of the 21st C. include glossy, reflective surfaces like mirror, aluminum, and resin along with clay and found objects. Identity is not constructed through “archetypes” of profession; instead it is dis/assembled by an excess of paraphernalia. Jobani’s figures struggle to resolve their identities, while trapped in the snare of carnival consumerism and technological flux. These mixed-media assemblages are a striking departure from Jobani’s preferred materials, plywood and corrugated cardboard—a departure that opens new realms of aesthetic exploration.
In Menschen des 20. Jarhunderts Sander captures a portrait of a century. However, the sculptures in People of the 21st C. reveal Jobani’s awareness of the dual utopian and absurd underpinnings of Sander’s endeavor. Sander’s contemporary Walter Benjamin puts it best, “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.” Jobani reconstructs Sander’s fantasy of an encapsulated history as a conceptual framework, which he uses to reflect on the complex valence of the 21st century. What are the archetypes of today, and how do they exist in a world split by flesh and avatar, globalism and rampant ego-centrism? Will Jobani pay homage to Sander’s guiding tenet of objectivity? How will he negotiate “objectivism” in the 21st C. when subjective experience is paramount?
Jobani invariably wows us with technique. People of the 21st C. is impressively cerebral. This project opens up a Pandora’s box of complexities—we invite you to the exhibit to try your hand at unraveling them. Meet the artist at the opening reception from 6 – 9, May 24, or at an artist talk at 2 pm, Saturday, May 26th.
For press inquiries, please contact Leia Gore (Research & Communications) at 416.603.2626 or by email at email@example.com.
JULIE M. GALLERY
15 Mill Street Toronto ON M5A 3R6
T 416 603 2626 | F 416 603 2620
info (at) juliemgallery (dot) com | www.juliemgallery.com
Tues to Sat 11 – 6 pm | Sun 12 – 5 pm or by appointment