Barbara Steinman  /  Diving for Dreams

A careful observer of what she once called “layers of impermanence,” that is the intertwined pathways of time and History, of individual and collective memory, Barbara Steinman invites visitors to consider the space of the Darling Foundry—a building located in the midst of radical architectural transformation and other urban development, and whose volume embodies both the height of luxury and a kind of endangered species. Choosing to leave the space almost empty, the artist has created a series of light interventions around the perimeter of the Main Hall. Three sections of sky-blue walls display a composition of neon lights, which calls to mind a rebus by associating quasi-childish drawings with figures of wild animals. Day and Night (1989), initially commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada as a site-specific photographic work, has been removed from its context and reconfigured to evoke the memory of a past life—that of the place or of the work, but perhaps also our past life. A work of mirrors and glass is nestled in the crevice streaking the large brick wall at the back, triggering dreams and animating the building’s entire palimpsestic surface. A postcard transmits a barely altered “souvenir” of the iconic facade of the Darling Brothers Foundry. The exhibition Diving for Dreams transforms the former foundry into a shelter and temporary home for harbouring childhood dreams, endangered beings and species, the promise of belonging, and a care for others.

 

Ji-Yoon Han
(translated from French by Oana Avasilichioaei) 

Barbara Steinman

Known for her multidisciplinary work, Montreal-based artist Barbara Steinman began her career in Vancouver as a video artist. At the beginning of the 1980s she was the co-director of artist-run centers Vidéo Véhicule and Powerhouse Gallery.

Steinman's works have been presented in numerous biennials and exhibitions in Canada, Europe, Japan and the US, among which the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Art Institute of Chicaco, and the National Gallery of Canada. Steinman was the recipient of the Governor General's Award for her outstanding contribution to the fields of visual and media arts (2002). She received an honorary doctorate from the Fine Arts Faculty of Concordia University in Montreal (2015). Her work is represented by Galerie Françoise Paviot in Paris and Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto.