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The Power Plant's Winter exhibitions feature New York-based artists On Kawara,
Venezuelan Javier Téllez and Toronto's former Cold City Gallery - opening Dec. 10, 2005

The Power Plant at Harbourfront Centre launches three new exhibitions that feature an exclusive Canadian retrospective of New York-based artist On Kawara, the Canadian premiere of a video installation by Venezuelan Javier Téllez and artworks from Toronto's former Cold City Gallery. All three exhibitions run from December 10, 2005 until March 5, 2006. A free admission public opening reception will be held at The Power Plant on Friday, December 9, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Please find individual exhibition releases below for - On Kawara:Consciousness. Meditation.Watcher on the hills; Javier Téllez: La Passion De Jeanne d'arc (Rozelle Hospital), 2004 and The Cold City Years.

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

Hi-resolution jpegs available upon request. For artist and curator interviews please contact Shane Gerard.

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

The Power Plant's Winter 2005 Exhibition Releases

The Power Plant showcases major retrospective of
influential Japanese-born conceptual artist On Kawara

The Power Plant contemporary art gallery at Harbourfront Centre presents a retrospective exhibition of Japanese-born artist On Kawara, one of the world’s most respected and influential contemporary artists. Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the hills. is a major exhibition focussing on Kawara’s ongoing preoccupation with recording the passage of time and the subjective nature of human consciousness. Kawara is a central figure in the development of late twentieth-century conceptual art, and this exhibition marks a unique chance to view the selected works of a contemporary master. The exhibition runs from December 10, 2005 to March 5, 2006.

On Kawara: Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the hills.

The Power Plant DirectorGregory Burke states, “Kawara’s work communicates a profound message, one that speaks of the nature of human consciousness and ultimately human mortality. The exhibition features works dating from the 1960s to this year and offers an extremely rare opportunity to view such a wide range of On Kawara’s work.”

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a group of over forty paintings from the Today Series, an ongoing project Kawara began on January 4, 1966 and that is intended to culminate at the end of the artist’s life. Each painting in the Today Series simply depicts the written date on which it was produced. Kawara carefully hand-letters the date in white sans serif script on a black monochromatic surface. If the painting is not finished by midnight on the day it was begun, it is destroyed. Over the course of the last twenty years, the artist has steadfastly maintained little expressive differentiation in the construction of these obliquely beautiful works, and has now produced more than two thousand paintings. For this exhibition, at least one Sunday from every year of the series was chosen for display.

Also on display is a selection of telegrams that Kawara has continued to send to friends and colleagues since 1970, bearing the message “I am still alive.” Of these, the exhibition’s curator, Jonathan Watkins, states, “Their eloquence derives from what they don’t say, what would be impossible to say—as saying anything would be impossible—were their message untrue. Its humour hinges on the fact that the recipient would be unaware of any recent life-threatening circumstances befalling the artist. It is like the answer to a question that hasn’t been asked. It is perfectly deadpan. The profound and counterbalancing seriousness of the telegram proceeds from the truism that we are all “still alive” (readers and writers of telegrams alike) but unexpectedly might not be.

Central to Kawara’s exploration of consciousness is a deep reflection on the nature of time, and the exhibition includes his two monumental bookworks, One Million Years (Past), (1970–71) and One Million Years (Future), (1980–96). Each of these companion works comprises ten large volumes, within which, typewritten by Kawara, are transcribed one million successive years, beginning with 1969 and proceeding backward, and then from 1980 forward. They are respectively dedicated to “all those who have lived and died” and to “the last one.” The Power Plant will present readings from One Million Years (Past) and One Million Years (Future)every Sunday afternoon at the gallery from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Sunday December 11, 2005 through Sunday March 5, 2006

A fully illustrated book, Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the hills. accompanies the exhibition. It includes texts by Ikuro Adachi, Kajin Yamamoto, Osho, Khalil Gibran, Krishnamurti, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff.

Japanese-born On Kawara lives in New York and has exhibited in major solo and group exhibitions worldwide. Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the hills. is organized by Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, and Le Consortium, Dijon, France. The exhibition has toured the world clockwise since 2002, most recently at the Jumex Collection in Mexico City. Its showing at The Power Plant will be its only stop in Canada. Kawara’s work has been included in major contemporary art exhibitions, recently in the inaugural exhibition of Dia: Beacon, New York, and in Documenta 11. On Kawara is represented by the David Zwirner Gallery, New York.

The Power Plant presents a video work by
New York-based Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez

The Power Plant contemporary art gallery at Harbourfront Centre presents an extraordinary video installation by New-York based Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez. La Passion De Jeanne d'arc (Rozelle Hospital), 2004 juxtaposes the Carl Dreyer silent film masterpiece 'La passion de Jeanne D'Arc' and a film made by Téllez with the patients of a psychiatric facility. Téllez’s work examines the social and cultural contexts of psychiatry, and he often uses psychiatric patients as performers in his videos.

One of the highlights of the 2004 Sydney Biennale, this installation's presentation at The Power Plant is only its second exhibition and marks the first time a major work by Téllez has been seen in Canada. The exhibition runs from December 10, 2005 to March 5, 2006.

Javier Téllez: La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Rozelle Hospital), 2004

Téllez’s work sensitively questions the limits of individual reason, the state, and the pathology of emotion. The work was produced as a result of a residency at Rozelle Hospital, Sydney, Australia, where Téllez worked with twelve female patients for over a month. As a video installation and twin projection, the work involves the use of the Carl Dreyer silent film masterpiece La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc. Téllez worked with the patients to produce new inter-titles for the Dreyer film. On one wall the original film is screened while the new titles are continuously being inscribed onto a blackboard. On the facing wall a sequence of portraits of and interviews with the women are shown. Thus an intense dialogue and exchange is established between the haunting images of Renée Falconetti, who plays Jeanne d’Arc, and the humanity of the patients. On its completion, the women told Téllez that the project had been the best experience of their lives.

Téllez’s work reflects a sustained interest in bringing peripheral communities and “invisible” situations to the fore of contemporary art. On 29 August of this year Téllez’s performance at inSite Tijuana culminated in the firing of a human cannonball across the Mexico/US border. The performance, entitled One flew over the void, also involved thirty-five psychiatric patients from the Baja California Mental Health Center in Mexicali, Mexico.
Téllez called the project “living sculpture” and said it was about “dissolving borders” between the United States and Mexico and between mental health patients and the rest of the world. Téllez’s installation Choreutics, shown at the Venice Biennale in 2001, involved the depiction of a community of Venezuelans in the throes of St. Vitus’s dance, dance-like movements that result from Huntington’s disease.

The Power Plant presents an exhibition of artwork and ephemera
from Toronto's former Cold City Gallery (1986-1999)

The Power Plant contemporary art gallery at Harbourfront Centre is pleased to present an exhibition of artwork and ephemera from the Cold City Gallery, tracing the gallery’s history through its archives and including a number of key works from that history. Co-curated by Nancy Campbell, Marlene Klassen and Pamela Meredith, The Cold City Years is an exhibition that chronicles the history of the Cold City Gallery (1986-1999), a unique artist-run centre/commercial gallery. While many hybrid galleries similar to the Cold City model have flourished since, Cold City was arguably the first of its kind in Toronto. The exhibition runs from December 10, 2005 to March 5, 2006.

The Cold City Years

Cold City Gallery initiates a new departure in the concept of the artist-run gallery. Through cyclical solo exhibitions of its members, it will offer the same sustained exposure for its artists as private commercial galleries with the exception that in Cold City the artists represent themselves. It is planned as a commercially viable co-operative where artists join together to share the gallery, not only as an exhibition space, but as a vehicle for introducing work to private and public collections.... Cold City will also sponsor group, exchange, and curated exhibitions in its schedule. It hopes to provide an aggressive alternative to existing programming in other galleries both public and private. By adapting some of the positive functions of both systems, Cold City wants to provide commitment, continuity, and independence for working artists.

So said the inaugural press release dated July 25, 1986; from the outset Cold City’s mandate was focused and innovative. The brainchild of Toronto artist Dyan Marie, Cold City was formed as a new way to exhibit and sell work. The name Cold City was adapted from the “Cold City Fiction” issue of Impulse magazine—a literal and metaphorical take on the state of affairs in Toronto. In this context, the gallery offered its member artists the opportunity to regularly exhibit conceptually challenging work with complete freedom.

The stable of artists changed over the co-operative’s 13 year duration, with some leaving for commercial galleries, and new members joining. This fluidity was part of Cold City’s success, but the bar was set very high for member artists. In addition to exhibiting its members, Cold City hosted numerous invitational and guest artist exhibitions, including Ken Lum, Annette Messager, Dennis Adams, and William Burroughs.

Member artists of Cold City included: John Armstrong, Therese Bolliger, Peter Bowyer, David Buchan, Peter Cosco, Cathy Daley, Tom Dean, Rob Flack, Eldon Garnet, Mark Gomes, Brian Groombridge, Marla Hlady, David Hlynsky, Garry Neill Kennedy, Ginette Legaré, Mark Lewis, Landon Mackenzie, Stephen Menzies, Arnaud Maggs, Dyan Marie, Al McWilliams, Sarah Nind, Louise Noguchi, Dominique Pelletey, Jaan Poldaas, Randy & Berenicci, Sandra Rechico, Susan Schelle, Brian Scott, Carl Skelton, Ian Wallace, Shirley Yanover, and Carolyn White.

The Cold City Archive is now in the permanent collection of the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto at Scarborough. The donation will allow scholars to catalogue the material and contribute to the history of art galleries and artist-run centres in Canada.


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