Prizes from the Vaults
Prizes From the Vaults, site-specific public performance, outside of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1999
Prizes From The Vaults was a site-specific performance that took place outside of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 1999. The piece involved the recreation of Claude Tousignant’s Gong as the main component of a game wheel, which was spun by participants in order to win “souvenirs from the vaults”. In order to entice audiences, Latour took on the persona of a carnival barker, hailing art crowds and passersby alike. The prize souvenirs, ranging from mugs to t-shirts, featured portraits of and artworks by abstract modernist painters found in the lower vaults of the AGO. Through a tour of the vaults, Latour learned that the majority of Canadian holdings were made by male artists. The souvenirs lent authenticity to the past, while the kitsch quality of the object offered an elusive critique of the institution as well as the larger Modernist project. This Niagara Falls style resurrection of Modernist abstract painting addressed issues of representation, gender, commodification and excess. Through tongue-in-cheek humour, the piece attempted to challenge the museum as a coherent, hermetically sealed microcosm that offers a seemingly homogenous representation of the world.
No Such Animal Exhibition
No Such Animal, promotional publication, SAW Gallery, Ottawa, 2003
The exhibition No Such Animal was curated by Sherri Irvin for SAW Gallery, Ottawa in 2003. It featured the work of artists who use animal imagery in their work. Participants included: Toni Latour, Susan Detwiler, Erik Edson, David Morrish, John Murchie and Kathryn Ruppert. Latour’s contribution included the installation Pool Noodle: Honing Survival Skills which was launched as a performance on the opening night of the show. (A description of Pool Noodle: Honing Survival Skills can be viewed on the Perched page of the website). The opening night also saw two other performances by Latour.
Inflation/Deflation, performance, SAW Gallery, 2003
In the performance Inflation/Deflation, the artist inflated a handmade larger-than-life-size inflatable of her dog Jack and a life-size inflatable of herself. While the inflatable dog swelled quickly and remained turgid with the aid of a fan, the inflatable of Latour took some labour to blow up. The artist began by using her own breath, then a foot pump and finally an air compressor. With the inflatable of Jack looking on eagerly, the inflatable of Latour was left to slowly deflate like a beach ball. The performance spoke to the volatility of confidence, and the fluctuation of ego, buffered by the perceived moral support of animals. The inflatables remained in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition.
Love Song For My Dog, performance, SAW Gallery, 2003, Installation view of No Such Animal, SAW Gallery, 2003