Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Two Max Dean’s installations on view at the NGC

Ottawa, Canada - October 10, 2002


 « Deux installations de Max Dean présentées au MBAC »  

Dean has been exploring the complex relationship between the artist, the spectator and the work of art. This is largely what characterizes the installations The Table: Childhood and Mist, on view at the National Gallery of Canada until 9 February 2003. These installations continue Dean’s investigation into human behavior and the role of the viewer in the gallery context.

Living and working in Toronto, Dean seeks to directly engage spectators by inviting them to participate into the workings of his pieces. In a number of his performances and artworks, Dean constructs situations in which the visitor is given the opportunity to make a choice to intervene, in some cases to stop an action from taking place and, in a more extreme example, to save him from being harmed.

The Table Childhood, 1984-2002 – room B108 – free admission :
The Table: Childhood is a collaborative work by Max Dean and Raffaello D’Andrea that was shown in the Arsenale section at the 2001 Venice Biennale. This fully autonomous robotic table selects a viewer and then attempts to form a relationship with that person. In this installation, Max Dean and Raffaello D’Andrea orchestrate a scenario where a spectator, selected by the table, becomes a performer and is not only an “object” of the table’s attention, but also of the other viewers’. Although the table tries to persuade the visitor to interact with it, the visitor must decide whether or not to commit to the piece. The behavior of this everyday object can be described as playful teasing or courtship and is, in a way, reminiscent of children’s games.

Mist, 2002 – room B209 – free admission
In Mist, the visitor is submerged in a panoramic video-loop projection of Niagara Falls complete with the thundering sound of its cascade. At random moments, a pair of female hands reaches down from above, and slowly pulls up the curtain of water, as if it were the hem of a skirt, to reveal a pair of legs, and eventually the water drops back again to reconstitute the image of the falls.

Both installations deal with desire: the table longs to connect with someone while the appearing and disappearing image of alluring legs draw the viewer into the falls. The NGC is grateful to the Susan Hobbs Gallery for its collaboration.

Meet the artist
On Saturday 26 October 2002 at 11 am, join artist Max Dean and Raffaello D’Andrea, Associate Professor, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, in a discussion about their collaboration on the inter-active installation, The Table: Childhood
In the Lecture Hall.
Free admission


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