Toronto-based artists Wojciech Olejnik and Sarah Jane Gorlitz often approach video installation work with a subtlety of means, deploying stop-motion and collage technique that stirs reflection, ambient shifting light, and wavering edges. While the work is seductive in its contemplative beauty, it nevertheless raises profound philosophical questions related to “subjective” experience, drawing attention to such tiny yet immanent movements constituent of what they term “The Vibrating Self”. Their interest in a philosophical problematization of the “self” is best reflected in the artists’ own writing:
|Jean-Luc Nancy’s “Being-with-one-another” denotes the sharing of subjective experience between many singularities. It proposes an expanded theory of subjectivity, one that does not see the innumerable other subjectivities as the impassible ‘Other’, but recognizes instead a constant overlapping of subjectivities within a shared field of experience. In our work, this overlapping itself can be imagined through movement. Never readable as a kind of a stable bond, it is rather a site of constant expansion and contraction. Even in the process of breathing, with every exhale one’s space reduces, only to expand again upon inhaling. Consequently, the very boundary of the self can be thought of as a kind of a blurry, vibrating edge, porous, and fluctuating. Whether considering the temporarily extinct plant St. Helena Olive Tree, or the subjective experience of a traveler, the videos in this exhibition aim to dislodge ordinarily passive responses to everyday events, and re-think them as more complex encounters. Our works are attempts to show that the metaphysical operates already at every point, in every encounter, that the horizon is within every proposition, that a book is already a library, that silence or an image is a cluster of statements. Our constant program is to unpack the simple, the particular, to unfold its endless facets and spaces.|
Wojciech Olejnik and Sarah Jane Gorlitz (a.k.a. Soft Turns) have been collaborating since 2006. They have recently shown at YYZ (Toronto), Stride Gallery (Calgary), Centre Clark (Montreal), and Southern Exposure (San Francisco) and participated in exhibitions at Videobrazil Contemporary Art Festival (São Paulo), Alternative Now (Wrocław), InterAccess (Toronto), and Kunstraum T27 (Berlin). They were awarded the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize for emerging artists from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2008, and a fellowship from the Edstrandska Foundation in Sweden in 2011. Both also maintain individual practices: Sarah Jane’s interests being focused in painting and collage, and Wojciech’s in drawing and computer-related media, as well as in writing about art.