Phantom Limb: Curated by Mari Spirito
July 10 - July 24, 2009

"Phantom Limb"

Olivier Babin
Christopher K. Ho
Corin Sworn
curated by Mari Spirito

July 16, 2009 – August 1, 2009

179 Canal Street presents "Phantom Limb" an exhibition of work by Olivier Babin, Christopher K. Ho and Corin Sworn that deal with the effects of elements that are not here. The term "Phantom Limb" refers to the brain's perception of sensations in a non existent body part. In the case of this exhibition, the elements that are "not here" are non visible forces, such as spirits, gravity, power, and emotions.

Corin Sworn's video "Atmosphere and Architecture", 2006 follows a securtiy guard as he goes on his nightly rounds of The Toronto Dominion Towers. Similar to 179 Canal Street, this specific building is subject to rumors of being haunted. The Toronto Dominion Towers are the last buildings that Mies Van der Rohe produced during his lifetime. In fact the architect died during the building of these towers. Perhaps it is for this reason that the third tower is said to be haunted.  Sworn's work gathered testimonies are from security guards describing hauntings they have experienced while on patrol.  Much of Sworn's work challenges what we believe and understand to be true, and  how we come to these understandings.

In “An Untitled Place,”  by Christopher K. Ho, a performer dressed as a magician attempts to rise off the floor, repeatedly collapsing as if subjected to gravity six times more than the earth. His right hand clutches a slightly outmoded white iPod, without earphones, playing a video loop of the US flag on the moon. The flag, planted by Apollo 11 in July 1969, appears frozen; the only indication that the image is a video is the occasional astronaut passing through the frame. While icons such as the US flag, the iPod, and the magician’s wand, lend themselves to a political and metaphorical reading about the American empire, and illusions of success, the experience of the performance itself, is equally central. The checklist and press release are the only residues of the piece in the gallery after the 2-hour performance.

"What else is life but being near you?" 2009, is a framed print found by Olivier Babin of a woman with large eyes and a notation "Deux Dessins de Ram Rischmann" (two drawings by Ram Rischmann)" that Babin came across on its own at a flea market. As one half of a pair, the object speaks about the absence of her counterpart and her history leading up to the current moment. "The Void" 2008 is a text painting reading "Your Parting Left A Void That Can Never Be Filled Until We Meet Again", originally carved on a tomb stone. At the same time, this work records the words of the dead spoken to the living, as well as, the words of dead spoken the dead.

Special thanks to ZeiherSmith Gallery, New York, Blanket Gallery, Vancouver, Ontario Arts Council, Canada, Winkelman Gallery, New York, Dean Daderko, Carlo Bronzini, Barbara Corti, Lisa Spellman, and the International Studio and Curatorial Project, New York.