Photograph: Michael Snow, provided by the Ryerson Image Centre; Front page: Michael Snow + David Rokeby
Ryerson University is transforming downtown Toronto one step at a time. The Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) is the latest addition to Canada’s gallery landscape and will open its doors to the public on the night of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche with its inaugural exhibition, Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection.
“The Black Star photographs, which reveal so much about our past, are recontextualized and brought to life in revelatory ways through the contemporary readings and interpretations that the artists have brought to their projects,” Doina Popescu, director of the of the RIC says. “It has been an honour to work with the eight selected artists and with my co-curator Peggy Gale, one of Canada’s finest critical thinkers and curators.”
This launch exhibition features eight leading Canadian contemporary artists – Michael Snow, David Rokeby, Vid Ingelevics, Stephen Andrews, Christina Battle, Marie-Helene Cousineau, Stan Douglas and Vera Frenkel. Each were inspired by the famous Black Star Collection, a world-renowned archive of historic black and white photojournalism.
Each artist has chosen images from the collection and responded to them in his or her own way through film, photography, new media and art, all of which is taught at Ryerson.
“We’re proud and excited to welcome the public to this one-of-a-kind facility and these two exhibitions,” says Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy. “The grand opening is the first opportunity to share what is one of the top facilities in the world for photography and related arts.”
The Black Star is a New York based photo agency which includes approximately 292,000 images taken by more than 6,000 photographers dating back to as early as 1910 that trace the social and political history of the 20th Century. The collection was given to Ryerson by an anonymous donor who bought them some years ago with the idea of handing them over to an appropriate institution.
Aside from the Black Star Collection, The Art of the Archive will also be launched at the grand opening. This exhibition showcases groundbreaking work by some of Canada’s foremost professional contemporary artists alongside emerging artists associated with Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts.