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What if? Artists and architects look at global issues and propose possible futures

TORONTO, September 10, 2004 – The Power Plant at Harbourfront Centre, Canada’s leading non-collecting contemporary art gallery, announces four new exhibitions running from September 29 through November 21, 2004: Too Perfect: Seven New Denmarks, SUPERFLEX, Kelly Wood: The Continuous Garbage Project: 1998-2003 and Christian Jankowski: This I Played Tomorrow. These exhibitions draw together provocative approaches to contemporary design, architecture and art through their investigations of national and global issues, waste management and the film industry.

Too Perfect: Seven New Denmarks focuses on the future of Danish architecture and design. Curated by Bruce Mau Design and produced in collaboration with PLOT, Kontrapunkt, Nord, Arkitema and SRL, Too Perfect takes architecture beyond the realm of buildings and furniture into other areas of life that we have the capacity to design, from clean water and agricultural reform to energy use and social engineering. The exhibition, commissioned by the Danish Architecture Center, is part of Harbourfront Centre’s SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture and will be simultaneously exhibited at the Danish Architecture Center, Copenhagen and as Denmark's official entry at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Since 1993, the three core members of the Copenhagen-based artists’ collective SUPERFLEX have developed a complex practice that brings together art, design, and commerce to explore the nature of globalization through ongoing collaborative projects. SUPERFLEX joins activism with provocation to reinterpret the role of artists in society and to question the nature of contemporary spectatorship. At the core of their practice is the development of what they call “tools" that enable productivity, communication, and access. The Power Plant is collaborating with SUPERFLEX to mount a new project this September to coincide with SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture.

Too Perfect: Seven New Denmarks and SUPERFLEX are part of Harbourfront Centre’s SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture, the most comprehensive exploration of Danish culture ever assembled, taking place from September through December in Toronto at Harbourfront Centre and other city locations.

The exhibition of Kelly Wood’s Continuous Garbage Project marks the completion of a long process. For five years, beginning with Vancouver’s “garbage strike” in the spring of 1998 and concluding the week before the project’s inaugural exhibition in Vancouver in 2003, Wood photographed her own garbage, assembling 275 images that document the waste from her Vancouver and Toronto homes. More than a mere aestheticisation of waste, the project raises issues about environmental awareness, consumerism, labour, obsessive impulses, and challenges the viewer’s desire to engage in voyeuristic behaviour. Organized and circulated by the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Vancouver.

In the video installation This I Played Tomorrow (2003), German artist Christian Jankowski interviews aspiring Italian actors about what they consider to be a “role of a lifetime.” Jankowski then fulfills each actor's wish by casting him or her in a short film playing their fantasy role. Like a high powered Hollywood director, Jankowski grants the proverbial lucky break while simultaneously exposing the vulnerabilities of the actor’s trade. Organized by The Power Plant as part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s new exhibition program which features work by artists that reference and reflect upon the idea of film.

On Tuesday, September 28, the public is invited to the exhibition openings for Too Perfect, SUPERFLEX, Kelly Wood and Christian Jankowski. Meet the artists, curators, sponsors and others who make the exhibitions possible. (7 p.m.-10 p.m. The Power Plant. Free.)

From 1 - 4 October, The Power Plant presents SUPERFLEX at Toronto International Art Fair. Look for Booth # 133 for a special off-site installation by this Copenhagen-based group. (Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The Power Plant is open until 8 pm October 1 - 3.)

On Saturday 2 October, a panel of international curators discuss What is a great exhibition? Panelists include the National Gallery of Canada’s Kitty Scott, Stephan Kalmar, Munich Kunstverein, Sara Kellner, DiverseWorks, Houston, and Peter Nesbett and Shelly Bancroft, Triple Candie, New York. Organized jointly with Blackwood Gallery (UTM) and MOCCA with the support of Foreign Affairs Canada. (10:30 a.m. Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Room #240. Free.)

On Saturday 2 October, Danish interdisciplinary art collective SUPERFLEX will discuss their creative interventions into the global economy. (4 p.m., The Power Plant. Free with admission.)

For Toronto’s Local Utopias, every Wednesday night in October & November, a different local initiative will give a presentation in response to an issue in Too Perfect. The issues addressed by the Danish designers and architects in Too Perfect are universal. Toronto has come up with many of its own creative responses to such global concerns as the housing crisis, gentrification, ecology and childcare. Guest speakers will participate in an open discussion with the aim of connecting ideas in the exhibition to the real world. Go to www.thepowerplant.org for a schedule of speakers. (Wednesday at 7 pm. The Power Plant. Free.)

From 9 – 11 October, Harbourfront Centre presents a festival weekend KulturHavn as part of SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture. Public tours of Too Perfect and SUPERFLEX will take place every hour. (The Power Plant, Free.)

On Monday 11 October, the gallery is open on Thanksgiving Day.

On Tuesday 12 October, Hubbub!, an avant-variety show of creative people and crucial ideas presents “Civic Pride,” featuring local groups that create pragmatic and impractical utopias in the city streets. (8 p.m. The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W. Free.)

On Tuesday 19 October, novelist and art critic Chris Kraus will read from her new book Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness and discuss the fallout of late 90s LA art. Presented in collaboration with C Magazine. (8 p.m., The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W. Free.)

On Wednesday 20 October, art critic Chris Kraus will conduct a workshop on techniques and strategies for the contemporary art writer. Space is limited. Call (416) 973-4931 to register. (6:30 p.m., The Power Plant. Cost: $25)

On Sunday 7 November Vancouver and Toronto based artist Kelly Wood discusses her practice. Wood studied at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, and completed her Master of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia in 1996. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada and Europe. (2 p.m., The Power Plant. Free with admission.)

The Power Plant is located at 231 Queens Quay West. Open Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. and Wednesday until 8 p.m. Admission is $4 ($2 students and seniors), children and members free. Admission is free on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. For exhibition and tours information, the public can call 416-973-4949 or visit www.thepowerplant.org.

Too Perfect: Seven New Denmarks’ main sponsor is Nykredit; other sponsors include Fonden Realdania, NCC, Montana/DJOB, LEGO VisionLab and Carl Bro together with The Danish Ministry of Culture, The Art Foundation –The Architecture Committee, The Arts Council, the Architects’ Association of Denmark, ZEES, DTKommunikation, On-site, Kontrapunkt, Berlingske Tidende, The Danish Ministry of Economics and Business Affairs, Kunst: Danish Arts Agency, Maersk, along with several other building and design companies.

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Media Contacts:
Linda Liontis, 416-973-4381, lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com
David Gates, 416-973-4494, dgates@harbourfrontcentre.com
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