Uncontrolled Reflections - By David Jager. Published in NOW Toronto

Rating: NNNN (highly recommended)
“Uncontrolled Reflection” at Shift Gallery, Toronto.

Uncontrolled Reflection veers from symbolic to fiercely political-ranging from organic and mystical symbolism to savage political manifestos and cutting-edge conceptualism, the work of seven extraordinary contemporary artists gets a showcase at Shift Gallery with Hugo Ares as a curator. The deeply Jungian “Scaled Down Universe” created by collaboration Tracy German and Marta Cela is a metallic dream ship containing a liquid silver pool and surrounded by sand. The pool and sand are brought to life by two film projections, a montage of organic colour and light and highly tactile black-and-white footage of bare feet descending steps to the beach.

The sensibility is echoed by the installation and performance of Claudia Bernal, which projects a fertility ritual by Mexico City shaman onto a white feather shawl. Both pieces draw on the timeless quality of South America’s ancient folkloric and magical traditions.

Ruben Ortiz Torres makes a lyrical and disturbing contribution with his projected mural, homage to muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. The projection. A series of photographs in which images of war, daily life, and poverty continuously shape-shift into one another; and finally into the face of Siqueiros himself, creating an evocative loop of horror. Gustavo Kortsarz uses a more whimsical approach in “A los 40” a daily video self-portrait recording the subtle changes he underwent during his 40th year. The jumbled sound-track reference the Beatles White Album, and the alterations in his appearance convey a strange mix of continuity and radical change. Oscar Muñoz, who represented Colombia at the 51st Venice Biennale, steals the show with the simple and breathtaking video pieces “Re/Trato” and “Narciso”. In “Re/Trato”, Muñoz is filmed racing against the Colombian heat, attempting to paint a quick self-portrait on sun-baked concrete with water before it evaporates. The image almost but never quite reaches completion, only to be followed by another attempt. In “Narciso”, Muñoz has miraculously suspended another self-portrait in the water in a sink, using graphite in particles; it gradually deteriorates as it’s sucked down the drain. Both works are reflections on the struggle for identity and recognition against time, and understated reference to the sudden “disappearance” of many of Colombia’s political dissidents. Hugo Ares, Guillermina Buzio and Jorge Lozano as a curators have brought to us an excellent showcase of Video Installations.

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