This group exhibition brings together Benoit Aquin, Maria Hupfield, and Karen Tam, who use different approaches in their work to negotiate power relations between the individual, artifact, place, and history. Whether through the self and its other, or through digital or physical manipulation of the art object, re-enactment is a political gesture that simultaneously allows us to experience the past and present, yet can be used to transform and distort understandings of historical events and peoples. By appropriating methods of re-enactments, the artists challenge and resist conventional production and consumption of the self and the body (Hupfield), of information and knowledge (Aquin), and of culture (Tam).
Revisiting her performative photographic series, Counterpoint, in which two figures (the self and its other) respond to one another's presence and to the locations in which they find themselves, Hupfield disrupts the original photographs by collaging felt cutouts atop the surface, obscuring one of the models. In doing so, the artist is reasserting an individual identity and contests practices of domination and social control.
The double also appears in Aquin's project based on the life and work of photographer Anton Bequii —an alter ego whose name is an anagram of Benoit Aquin. Documenting a parallel existence and reality, Bequii’s autofictive photographs are counter-sites to the dystopic illusions and transmission of (mis)information fed to us by mass media.
A similar mimicry occurs in Tam's papier-mâché sculptures that activate historical artifacts through their replicas, as well as in her smoke cutouts depicting woman warriors in Chinese history and folklore as door gods who ward off evil spirits and influences. Through these mirrored figures and doubled objects, Tam questions modes of cultural production and interpretation.