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The Art of Word and Image Converge at The Power Plant this Winter

TORONTO, November 26, 2004ĖThe Power Plant at Harbourfront Centre, Canadaís leading non-collecting contemporary art gallery, announces two new exhibitions running from December 11, 2004 through March 6, 2005: Ken Lum Works with Photography, a twenty-year retrospective of Ken Lum's internationally-renowned photo-based works; and Emma Kayís The Story of Art, an animated history of art drawn from the artistís memory. A public opening reception will be held at The Power Plant on Friday, December 10, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., admission is free.

Ken Lum is one of Canadaís leading artists, and his rise to international acclaim coincides with the increasing prominence of photo-based practices in contemporary art. Ken Lum Works With Photography, a retrospective of Lumís photographic oeuvre, also includes video and photographic documentation of performance works. Lum has worked consistently with photographic portraits bound to texts, and his investigations into this territory embody his most significant achievements. Lum's major series from the 1980s onward Ė Portrait Logos, Youth Portraits, Portrait Attributes, Portrait-Repeated Texts, and the public commission There is no place like home Ė depict a broad range of individuals from across the social spectrum. Each portrait is paired to a logo, a personís name, or a descriptive and sometimes highly emotive text.

Lum's more recent Photo-Mirror series incorporates fleeting portraits of spectators as reflected in the mirrored surfaces of the works. Primarily concerned with issues of identity, Lumís art practice explores the anxiety, confusion and contradictions that arise when people of disparate backgrounds meet. Canadaís multicultural population has provided much of the content for his work, which often focuses on the interfaces (margins, borders, junctions, crossroads) where languages and cultures collide. The exhibition is organized and circulated by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, an affiliate of the National Gallery of Canada. Sponsor for The Power Plantís presentation of Ken Lum Works with Photography: BMO Nesbitt Burns.

British artist Emma Kay is known for provocative text-based works examining the subjective nature of knowledge and memory, and the systems we use to perceive, store and access bodies of knowledge. This winter, The Power Plant presents The Story of Art (2003), a projected digital animation that transcribes the history of visual art, from its earliest moments in cave painting right up to the present day. Kay has written the text entirely from memory without recourse to books or other research aids, an approach consistent with her practice in previous works, such as The Bible from Memory (1997), Shakespeare from Memory (1998), and Worldview (1999). Emma Kayís work has been shown in numerous exhibitions internationally, including solo exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2003-04); Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2001) and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2001). In 2004, Kay was commissioned to produce a new work by London Underground Platform for Art in collaboration with the Frieze Art Fair. She is currently working on a major public commission for the Home Office, London. Kay received her M.A. from Goldsmiths College in 1997. This exhibition made possible with the support of The British Council.

Also this winter, warm up at the Moving Image Salon in The Power Plantís upstairs gallery. On view is Point of View: An Anthology of the Moving Image, 2004, an edition of eleven video works by Francis Als, David Claerbout, Douglas Gordon, Gary Hill, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, William Kentridge, Paul McCarthy, Pipilotti Rist and Anri Sala, which were commissioned and produced by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Also on view are special selections from The Power Plantís International Lecture Series.

The Power Plant's Public Progammes:

Public Programmes for the winter exhibitions include lectures by both artists. On Saturday, December 11, at 2 p.m., The Power Plant presents an Artistís Talk with Emma Kay, who will discuss the role of text and memory in an overview of her work. On Sunday, February 13, at 2 p.m., Ken Lum will talk about his artistic career with a particular focus on the photographic work in the exhibition. Both lectures will take place at The Power Plant and are free with admission.

Also in the new year, The Power Plant presents two speakers in its prestigious International Lecture Series. On Thursday, January 27, at 7 p.m., seminal American artist Dan Graham will talk about his work in performance, video, text, architecture and puppetry. Since the mid-1960s, Dan Graham has investigated the built environment, popular music, video and television in essays, performances, installations, videotapes and architectural/sculptural designs. On Thursday, February 24, at 7 p.m., critic, curator and scholar Robert Storr will discuss the artists and ideas in his most recent exhibition, Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque, at SITE, Santa Feís Fifth International Biennial. Prior to this exhibition, Storr was Senior Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. He was recently appointed the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Dan Graham will speak at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West. Robert Storr will speak at the Brigantine Room, 235 Queens Quay West. Both lectures are free to Power Plant members. Admission for the general public is $15. For tickets, call the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416-973-4000.

On Tuesday, February 8, at 8 p.m., The Power Plantís riveting prime-time rumble Hubbub! returns to The Rivoli to present an avant-variety show of creative people and crucial ideas. This eveningís theme is History Texts. Guest speakers will discuss memories, signs and records of the past in the archive and in the gallery. Hosted by Terence Dick at The Rivoli, 334 Queen Street West. Admission is free.

The Power Plant's Educational Progammes:

The Power Plantís educational programmes for the winter include an Art Writing Workshop (Wednesday, February 2, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) with recently appointed University Research Chair in Art Criticism at the University of Guelph and Border Crossingsí Editor-at-Large Robert Enright. The cost for this workshop is $25. Also, in February (date TBA), artist and educator Arthur Renwick will lead Snapshot: Thinking with Pictures & Words, a youth programme that looks at Ken Lum Works With Photography to consider portrait photography in advertising, photojournalism and family albums. Participants must be 15 to 25 years old. Free with gallery admission. And, every Sunday at 2 p.m., Gallery Kids offers special tours of the exhibitions with creative activities for families that are free with admission. Call 416-973-4931 for information on any educational programme or to register for workshops.

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 tour information, the public can call 416-973-4949 or visit

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Media Contact: Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655 or
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