Vessna Perunovich

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ANGELL GALLERY presents SHIFTING SHELTER: portrait of a defiant displacement, a multi-disciplinary exhibition by internationally recognized Toronto-based artist, VESSNA PERUNOVICH. Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, a version of this show debuted in Serbia and Montenegro as part of the international touring exhibition, Politics of Movement. This presentation at Angell Gallery marks the installation’s Canadian debut. The show runs from March 11 through April 1, 2017. The opening reception is on Saturday, March 11, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., preceded by a conversation between the artist and Angell Gallery Associate Director, Bill Clarke, at 1:00 p.m.

Vessna Perunovich is one of the Canadian art scene’s greatest exports, presenting her thought-provoking work in exhibition spaces throughout the world. Like her international contemporaries Lebanese-born, London-based Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum, and Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs, Perunovich uses a wide range of media to explore socially relevant subjects, particularly notions of identity and exile. As a Serbian-born artist who immigrated to Canada in the late 1980s, she knows these subjects well, her personal experience of displacement underscoring a deeply felt body of work that includes performance, video, drawing, painting, sculpture and installation.

For Shifting Shelter, Perunovich will transform the gallery space through an immersive installation that investigates the personal as well as universal experience of migration as a space of both movement and immobility; border space of identity, positioned in-between traditions and homelands. Found objects, elastic ribbon, a house structure, tape and graphite are drawn together into a web-like environment crafted from a multitude of lines, intersecting and connecting in the most improbable and compelling ways. Mirrors multiply this confounded space, where mundane household objects are rendered non-functional, up-ended and painted a somber matte black.

By subjecting the emblematic structure of a house to a process of symbolic deconstruction, Perunovich questions the meaning of ‘home’, both in relation to her personal experience of immigration and constant travel, as well as the current context of the largest global migrant crises since WWII.

Vessna Perunovich has exhibited at International biennials in Cuba, Albania, England, Venice, Portugal, Yugoslavia, and Greece and participated in residencies in Berlin, Banff, Bursa (Turkey), New York and Beijing. Her survey exhibitions Borderless and Emblems of Enigma toured across Canada and Europe. In Canada, Perunovich has shown at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Cambridge Galleries, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Kelowna Art Gallery, the Canadian Textile Museum, A Space, VU Centre and Tom Thomson Gallery, among others. She is represented in many public collections, has been reviewed in Canadian Art, Espace Sculpture, World Sculpture Magazine, Espace Art Actuel and Border Crossings, and is the subject of two monographs, (W)hole, 2004 and Emblems of the Enigma, 2008.

Unoccupied New York
Video, sound
20 minutes
Shifting Shelter, 2017
Site-specific installation, house structure, various found objects, furniture, mirrors chalkboard paint, tape, elastic ribbon
Tomorrow Never Knows, 2017
Painting on board, plaster, engraving, acrylic, chalkboard paint, oil pastel
60" x 60"
The Hook, 2017
Chalkboard paint, engraving, graphite, oil pastel on panel
24" x 18"
Nothing to Lose, 2017
Sculptural installation - small found objects, wooden board, chalkboard paint
60" x 60"
Time is Running Out, 2017
Installation, school bench and chair, chalkboard paint, oil stick, elastic ribbon, rubber bands, rock and bricks
72" x 18" x 26"
Everything OK?, 2015-2017
Painting on board, plaster, glossy house paint, acrylic, graphite
20" x 15"
We Are Here Now, 2017
Sculpture, globe, chalkboard paint, engraving, oil pastel
12" x 12" x 15"
Backbone, 2017
Sculpture/installation - spoons, chalkboard paint, table, glass top
48" x 18" x 19"
Close Proximity / 104550 Holes Too Many, 2012-2014
Artist book, incense
11" x 8"
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

L'artiste remercie le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.