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The Power Plant's summer exhibitions offer three innovative spins on culture

TORONTO, June 10, 2004 – The Power Plant at Harbourfront Centre, Canada’s leading non-collecting contemporary art gallery, announces three new exhibitions running from June 19 through September 6, 2004: Janet Cardiff: Forty-Part Motet, Laura Kikauka: Exactly the Same, but Completely Different and the North American exhibition premiere of artist/architect John Körmeling. These exhibitions draw together three innovative, provocative approaches to contemporary sculpture, and imagine an expanded view that includes a wide range of philosophies and materials, including assemblage, mixed media, audio and kinetically charged installations.

Dutch artist John Kormeling’s Mobile Fun, is a 100-foot high, functional Ferris wheel constructed to carry passengers in automobiles rather than regular carriages. Through the summer months, visitors to The Power Plant are invited to ride the Ferris wheel inside one of four SAAB 9-2X automobiles chosen by the artist and donated for the duration of the exhibition. In his first North American exhibition a selection of drawings, maquettes and sculpture will showcase the artist’s highly unconventional, critical approach to our built environment, and highlight his strategies for skewing concepts of public/private art. Kormeling’s consistent use of unusual materials and his fascination with contemporary urbanity combine topical issues in design, architecture and city planning. (The Mobile Fun Ferris wheel operates 10 a.m. to
11 p.m. daily from June 3 to August 8. $5 admission.)

In Janet Cardiff’s Forty-Part Motet, forty separately recorded voices are played back through forty speakers circling the exhibition space. The effect created is deeply moving and has earned the work a popularity with visitors that is rarely encountered in contemporary art. Winner of the Millennium Prize 2001, the work is a reworking of Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, a 16th-century English composer who is said to have produced one of the most complex pieces of polyphonic choral music ever composed. Even though Cardiff’s true medium in this work is sound, her emphasis on the sculptural qualities of sound is what distinguishes her as an artist. Forty-Part Motet, originally commissioned by the Salisbury Festival and performed by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir, is on loan from the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Ottawa. Cardiff and George Bures Miller, represented Canada at the 2001 Venice Biennale with their acclaimed work, The Paradise Institute. Her work was also included in the opening exhibition of the Tate Modern in London and has been featured in exhibitions across Canada and abroad.

Berlin-based Meaford, Ontario artist Laura Kikauka’s exhibition, Exactly the Same, but Completely Different, is a new large-scale installation that presents a unique approach to mixed media sculpture.

For the last twenty years, Kikauka has manifested a keen interest in material culture by bringing together vast mounds of outdated electronic gadgetry, industrially produced anonymous crafts and quality junk sorted by colour or some other common characteristic. Her process-oriented sculptures offer an arresting blend of slapstick humour, kitsch sentiments, party games and obscure popular music, all vying for attention in an assemblage of objects that veers from extreme orderliness to anarchic chaos.

In conjunction with Harbourfront Centre’s Planet IndigenUs festival, The Power Plant will screen Zacharias Kunuk's seminal film, Quagiq (GatheringPlace), and presents an artist edition in the form of eight A-frame signs by Vancouver artist Brian Jungen that advertise “authentic native arts.” Jungen is influenced by international Minimal and Conceptual strategies of the 1960s and 70s. His edition, entitled Bay of Spirits Gallery of Canadian Native Art, (2002) offers an obvious reference to the pop art of Andy Warhol's brillo pad boxes. Jungen’s edition is produced and distributed by The Power Plant. The exhibition will begin August 8, 2004.

On Friday June 18, the public is invited to the exhibition openings of John Körmeling, Janet Cardiff and Laura Kikauka in conjunction with the Power Plant’s annual Summer Party. Meet the artists, curators, sponsors and others who make the exhibitions possible. (7 p.m.-11 p.m. Free admission)

The Power Plant offers Public Programmes to complement the exhibits including talks and tours by the artists, Director’s and Curator's tours and The Power Plant’s continuing International Lecture Series, which presents Janet Cardiff on Thursday, June 17. Janet Cardiff’s installations and walking pieces layer sound on visuals, blending real experience with prerecorded creations to disrupt and delight. She will discuss past and current projects. (7 p.m., York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Free to members. Non-members $15. Call (416) 973-4000 to reserve.)

On Sunday June 20, Dutch artist/architect John Körmeling discusses his strategies for combining unusual media and skewing concepts of public/private in art, architecture, design and city planning. His work has appeared throughout Europe and Japan. (2 p.m., The Power Plant. Free admission)

The Power Plant presents a new and exciting multi-media project, Hear Here, for youth aged 15-25 that combines contemporary art, sound recording, digital editing, and new media. Over a series of workshops, participants will use Janet Cardiff’s Forty-Part Motet as the model for an on-line, site-specific sound work. The site will be the Toronto Island. Recordings will be gathered from all over the island, digitally assembled and processed in a professional sound studio, and broadcast, first over the Internet and then at the Sound Travels Sound Art Festival in August. This program is co-produced by The Power Plant, Charles Street Video and New Adventures in Sound Art. (Workshops will take place on June 19 & 20, 26 & 27 and July 3 & 4. Cost: $150. Registration deadline is June 11 and places are limited. Please call (416) 973-4931 for more information and to register.)

On Tuesday July 13, The Power Plant hosts Hubbub!, a riveting prime time rumble at the Rivoli. Hubbub! is an avant-variety show of creative people and crucial ideas. This evening’s theme is “Art vs. Architecture” and features a head-to-head debate between local installation artists and architect/artists. (8 p.m., The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W. Free.)

On Wednesday July 21, Power Plant Director Wayne Baerwaldt gives a walking tour of the gallery. (6:30 p.m., The Power Plant. Free.)

On Sunday July 25, Berlin-based Canadian artist Laura Kikauka discusses her exotic, kitschy installations with an eye for the science experiment gone awry and a sensitive touch for electronic gear of all kinds. (2 p.m. The Power Plant. Free.)

On Canada Day (Thursday July 1), the Civic Holiday (Monday August 2), and Labour Day (Monday September 6), the gallery will be open.

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

Presenting sponsor of the John Körmeling exhibition: SAAB Canada.
The John Körmeling exhibition is generously supported by the Mondrian Foundation, Amsterdam. John Körmeling’s Mobile Fun is presented in partnership with the Toronto zooarts Festival and with the support of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Ottawa, and the Royal Netherlands Consulate, Toronto; KLM; Mr. Steven Latner; and Mr. Richard Sawyer.

Janet Cardiff’s Forty-Part Motet is organized and circulated by the National Gallery of Art, Ottawa. The exhibition is generously supported by Lazard, Victoria Jackman & Bruce Kuwabara, Nancy McCain & William Morneau, Laura Rapp & Jay Alan Smith, Evan Siddall and Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts.

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Media Contacts:
Linda Liontis, 416-973-4381,
David Gates, 416-973-4494,
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