‘I was uncategorical, and so, defiant’
Organized by Lucas Regazzi
August 7-18, 2018
please visit us Tuesday to Friday 12-6, throughout August: Saturdays by appointment
In 1993, the University of Saskatchewan removed an artwork by MFA candidate Christopher Lefler from a group show titled Staging Identities at the Gordon Snelgrove gallery. Lefler’s installation comprised bound correspondences between the artist and the province’s Lieutenant Governor at the time, Sylvia Fedoruk, whom in his letters, Lefler identifies as a lesbian in the context of difficult questions regarding her intersectional identities in relation to the HIV crisis. The dean claimed Lefler’s work “[did] not constitute art in any sense of the word,” that it was even potentially “libellous.” Continued friction with the university’s administration ended with Lefler being expelled. Lefler’s work was reported in media and broadly denounced as ‘outing’ (the pejorative term used to describe intentional disclosure of a person as homosexual without that person’s explicit consent). While there are arguments for and against the concept of outing, I think it important to consider the systemic issues at root, namely wide-sweeping societal homophobia. A failed archival entry of Lefler’s work serves as evidence of this homophobic, institutional repulse.
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 artists, curators and culturists 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.
Yan Wen Chang
Rebecca La Marre
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
nènè myriam konaté
Kenneth Jeffrey Kwan Kit Lau
Jordan Van Tassel