Like many museums around the world, Remai Modern has closed as part of a broad response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our program has been suspended, artists remain at the forefront of our thoughts. The museum has reached out to artists involved in our programming to gather their perspectives on the experience of these unprecedented times.
Thursday, May 21, 2020. 8:04 AM
1. Where are you? What can you tell us about your current living situation, or the conditions in your neighbourhood/city?
In my apartment in Toronto, though I’ve started venturing back to my studio for shorter visits. I was in New York in March for what was supposed to be a three-month residency — that was obviously cancelled — and my partner drove to come get me on a day’s notice. I’m super privileged and grateful to be here with healthcare, some social support, and time to actually slow down.
2. How are you continuing your practice during this time?
It took over a month until I felt like I could make something again. It’s been a nice (but challenging) moment to confront how deeply capitalist ideas of “productivity” run through my veins and psyche. I couldn’t bring myself to make anything and didn’t want to, and I had to be OK with that. That was freeing in many ways, and a silver lining that I’ll continue to carry with me beyond this time.
For a while I was reading a thick textbook on the foundations of Chinese Medicine. I’ve now invented a process for myself that is time consuming and repetitive — very appropriate for this time! I’m making photograms by weaving paper tape on my kitchen counter, then tanning them on my windows here, or I’ll sometimes take them to my studio to tan there on larger windows. They look like woven tapestries and window screens. It’s a meditative, soothing task where I can just tune out or watch artist talks and videos. I’m thinking about world-making, and the body as a screen that occupies, infects and inflects both inside and outside dimensions. All that being said, there are still plenty of hours and days where I truly don’t accomplish anything besides eating food and going for a walk and having some wine.
3. What things or ideas are you finding comfort in right now?
Cooking, looking at art online (though I so miss seeing it irl), reading, wine, weekly Zooms with friends, making these photograms, my morning ritual of reading tarot, oh, and being on a waitlist to adopt a dog!
4. What artworks, music, books, or films have been in your mind during this time?
I’ve been re-reading When the Moon Waxes Red by Trinh T. Minh-Ha and watching some of her films. I had the opportunity to do a live-reading and discussion of her text “Yellow Sprouts” with Jesse Chun (artist) and Theresa Wang (curator) through Oakville Galleries’ online programming; that gave me a lot of life. Her writing feels so apt especially now—one section of the book is titled “No Master Territories” and that’s kind of become my mantra right now.
5. What are you letting go of? What are you holding on to?
Similar to what I mentioned above, I’m really taking this as a time to embrace some inner spiritual breakthroughs. I’m privileged enough to have extra time to look inwards right now, and so it’s been an opportune time to filter out a lot of the bullshit. I’m doing more body and gut checks, letting myself be motivated by desire and becoming even more acutely aware of all the social pressures around me (ideals of productivity, expectations of performances of gender and race as an artist, etc.), and just letting them shed.
I’m hoping I hold onto slowing down. Looking closer, reading closer, feeling with more nuance and awareness.
6. What are you looking forward to?
Hugging people I love, seeing art in person, being in New York again.
The work of Toronto-based artist Laurie Kang is rooted in an enduring concern with the body and the forces that shape it — political, affective and otherwise. She holds an MFA from the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College and has been artist-in-residence at Rupert, Vilnius; Tag Team, Bergen; The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Alberta; and Interstate Projects, Brooklyn. Recent exhibitions include solo shows Eidetic Tides at Southern Alberta Art Gallery and A Body Knots at TPW, Toronto, and group shows including In Practice: Total Disbelief at Sculpture Center, New York; and If I have a body at Remai Modern.