Familiar taxonomies, phrases, and sentiments that have become both vernacular and strange over the course of the global health crisis have also become expressions of longing, solidarity, and loss. In this exhibition, the texts featured across three new works are ambiguous, unsettled, and imprecise, designed to encourage a plurality of understandings across a range of personal, public, and social registers. Each statement is also more complex than it might appear at first glance, suggesting some sense of instability or ever-shifting priorities. The poster series, Decisions, Decisions (two years and counting), interjects multiple logics and potentials by encouraging participation based on the viewer’s agreement, disagreement, or ambivalence, using small sticker dots, and aims to capture a sense of possibility and power in the language we use to understand and narrate our everyday lives. The video work, Forever and Ever (How Do You Feel Today?) contains a series of words that have become more and less visible over the course of the pandemic, utilizing a common adjective suffix that reveal relations, causations, and associations in an infinite loop, reflecting on the way that language continually and simultaneously becomes a respite and a source of tension. Finally, the large wall text, Stay Safe OK?, redeploys a question, a sign-off, a rhetorical act of care across the pandemic and brings it to a monumental scale, asking the viewers to contend with what staying safe can mean in the midst of a public health crisis, and who indeed can feel safe at all. The exhibition as a whole asks what stories we can and should tell ourselves about this moment and what it means to act collectively or individually as we imagine new futures.
The exhibition essay written by Justin Langlois can be read HERE.
Justin Langlois is an artist, writer, and educator. His practice explores social and pedagogical forms through text-based works, long-term participatory projects, and public installations. His work has been presented at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto), Conflux New York, Nuit Blanche (Toronto), Creative Time Summit (Venice), Open Engagement (Pittsburgh), CAFKA (Kitchener), Art Souterrain (Montreal), Art Moves (Poland), Manif D’art Biennial (Quebec City), along with galleries and artist-run centres across Canada. He is an Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and lives and works as an uninvited guest on unceded Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver, Canada.
In Conversation: Justin Langlois with Hiba Abdallah
Saturday February 12, 1-2pm
online on zoom
Pre-registration required HERE
Join exhibiting artist Justin Langlois in conversation with artist Hiba Abdallah as they discuss Justin’s new exhibition No Exaggerations. They will reflect on the role of text and language in their artworks and the limits and possibilities of creating socially engaged work. Framed by the ongoing context of COVID-19, Justin and Hiba will also explore some of the big questions many artists and cultural workers are asking themselves: why make art now? Who am I making art for? And, what role can art play in uncertain times?
Artist Multiples and Publications with WAHC’s Youth Council
(not open to the public)
Justin Langlois introduces WAHC’s Youth Council to artist multiples and publications through an engaging workshop. WAHC’s youth council is interested in creating a zine on the topic of young workers’ rights. Justin will support the youth council in beginning this project and realizing their vision. This event is not open to the public.
WAHC wishes to acknowledge the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario, CUPE, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.
For more information, please contact Sonali Menezes, Programming and Exhibitions Specialist, at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29 or email@example.com.