Presence in Absentia

Installation view of Developing Historical Negatives, Gallery 44, Toronto May 3 - June 1 2019. Works on view are Presence in Absentia, by Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn. Photo by Darren Rigo

Presence in Absentia

June 1, 4:00PM

You are welcome to attend a silent performance by Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, where a performer will disintegrate her work Presence in Absentia.

This performance is part of the group exhibition Developing Historical NegativesThe exhibition examines the strategies artists use to harness the affective dimensions of the colonial photographic archive. Probing histories of migration and assimilation, and stories of resistance, fugitivity, and escape, the works commissioned for this exhibition use photography’s imaginative potential to illuminate difficult histories, and to question how images can act as tools of knowledge transfer between generations.

Taking its title from the work of colonial anthropologist Ann Laura Stoler, the exhibition reorients attention away from the glossy, state-sanctioned photographs of “official” histories to the space of photographic production—the darkroom—where inverted, grainy impressions reveal the tenuous grounds of how histories are formed. In these new works incorporating collage, digital manipulation, reenactment, and translation, Canadian artists Deanna Bowen (Toronto), Morris Lum (Toronto), Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn (Stockholm), Krista Belle Stewart (Vancouver/Berlin), and Hajra Waheed (Montreal) interweave family narratives with state histories to picture transnational experiences of belonging and unbelonging, sovereignty and unfreedom. Importantly, these artists’ works do not seek to insert missing narratives into the historical record, but to expose the presence of racialized subjects who were always and already there, waiting to be “developed” into public sight.

Curated by Gabrielle Moser