‘I was uncategorical, and so, defiant’
Organized by Lucas Regazzi
August 7-19, 2018
‘I was uncategorical, and so, defiant’ takes its title from the words of artist Christopher Lefler, whose provocative, queer identity-based work was removed from a group show titled Staging Identities I in 1993 at the University of Saskatchewan. The institutional archive—in this moment, explicitly repulsed—flexed its intimate relation to law and order. “Libellous,” and “not art,” were words used to describe Lefler’s work in correspondences between the artist and University administration, who ultimately expelled Lefler, and caused such an uproar about his work—which outed the province’s Lieutenant Governor as a lesbian—that the provincial legislature worked to rescind Lefler of his awarded grant money from the Saskatchewan Arts Board a year later. These words on Lefler were found in secondary texts, to which the artwork’s form was displaced: art historical accounts, scholarship on censorship, and the like.
The institutional archive abides distinctive discursive parameters. In its ascription of importance to this and not that, it commands a specific vision of history. Its power is a silent power, guised as a system of neutrality; though its bias is revealed in such moments of intensity.
For this show, Regazzi has invited 50 artists to engage in an email correspondence with him, approaching notions of archival absence, asking of them to propose thoughts or gestures that they feel the archive should contain. These correspondences will be printed and displayed as such within the space of the gallery for the duration of the show. At its end, the propositions will enter an archive box for storage.