Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the launch of our spring program with two solo exhibitions.

Class by Karen Asher
Comma Boat by R
yan Trecartin

Exhibitions run from April 27 to June 30, 2019 
Opening Reception: Friday, April 26 | 7 - 10pm 

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art • 1 460 Portage Ave,
 Winnipeg, CA
Images: Karen Asher, Class, 2019 & Ryan Trecartin, Comma Boat, 2013 (video stills)
Karen Asher: Class
April 27 to June 30, 2019

Image: Karen Asher, Class, 2019 (video still; detail of mixed-media installation). Courtesy of the Artist.

Plug In ICA has the pleasure to work with Karen Asher in presenting her solo exhibition Class. Opening Friday, April 26, 2019, Class will see Asher for the first time extending her established photographic practice into the broader realm of installation. The exhibition will feature a ninety-minute video of music, dance and visual effects. The central video reflects her photographic practice for which she slowly engages her subjects, mostly friends and family, in a set of scenarios that border on highly composed to happenstance.

The video is part of Class, an installation of video, photographs and props that elude to Asher’s past. Class is almost a coming of age story in which Asher recreates the night clubs and bars she frequented and worked at in her late teens throughout her twenties. These places, where her identity was made, were permissive. This merged recreation of places is part of a dreamscape of pleather seats, plastic glossy linoleum, shiny satin curtains, a flashing neon sign. They are sensual, bargain bin, gaudy, gauche – the material of a class identity that is blinded by the glitter, but also aware of its own tactlessness. Asher sits amongst the kitsch, but also behind it as a controlled observer. Like her subjects who perform their desires for the camera, Asher unearths a powerful authority of who she is.

Thursday, May 23, 7pm Ming Hon will give a performance as part of the Respondent series for Karen Asher’s exhibition. 

Friday, June 14, 7pm
Karen Asher will give an artist talk followed by a dance and karaoke party.

BIO: Karen Asher received her BFA from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art in 2009, and is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and honors. Her work is featured in Flash Forward 2010 – Emerging Photographers from Canada, United Kingdom and the United States as well as Front Line: Interviews with International Contemporary Photo-Based Artists. Her first solo exhibition No Cause For Concern was presented at Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, Winnipeg with her most recent solo exhibition The Full Catastrophe presented at Ace Art Inc., Winnipeg. Asher has exhibited work at Toronto’s Contact Photography Festival; the Gimli Film Festival; the Pingyao International Photography Festival, Beijing; Truck Contemporary Art, Calgary; and Feature Art Fair, Toronto. Asher’s work has been featured in The National PostBlackflashCanadian Art, and Border Crossings.

Ryan Trecartin: Comma Boat
April 27 to June 30, 2019

Image: Ryan Trecartin, Comma Boat, 2013 (3-channel HD video, duration 33:02) Courtesy of the Artist; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Sprüth Magers, Berlin; and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. 

Plug In ICA is truly honoured to present Comma Boat by Ryan Trecartin, opening on Friday, April 26, 2019. This three-channel video installation is characteristic of Trecartin’s work in its critique of mass media and celebrity culture, which he achieves through a controlled chaos.

Trecartin figures prominently in his movies, taking on a variety of persona that vibrate on screen as a cast of characters. In Comma Boat, his portrayal of a manic film director working on set is hyperbolic in its dramatization of the authority and immense ego of a film or television director. The writer Chris Glazek describes Trecartin performances as personifying the oscillation “between feelings of omnipotence and self-doubt. As if a post-human, post-gendered reincarnation of the Fellini character in 8 1/2, the director gloats and frets about professional and ethical transgressions. ‘I know I lied to get ahead,’ he admits at one point. ‘I’ve made up so many different alphabets just to get ahead in my field.’ The director is fancier now, but the fear nags that he might be ‘repeating’ himself ‘like a dumb soldier ova and ova and ova and ova.’”

Trecartin is only one part of a frenzied thirty-three minutes of shifting camera angles and pans that move between the rooms of a Los Angeles movie studio. The set of Comma Boat is a disorderly mess that the camera flows through, capturing people moving about with a tense edge, as we watch them desperately try to keep the camera’s focus, or see them unravel as their insecurity manifests under the scrutiny of an unruly crew of performers and us -- the viewer.

BIO: Ryan Trecartin is an influential artist known for his dense and frenetic video installations made with his long time collaborator, Lizzie Fitch. Since studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 2000s, he has risen to international acclaim for his signature and emblematic movies that are hyper and accelerated representations of television and film production. He has exhibited as part of the 2006 Whitney Biennial and has since participated in large international group exhibitions, including the 6th Busan Biennale, South Korea; 100 years, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; the 3rd Singapore Biennale; the 12th Biennale de Lyon; and the Berlin Biennale (2016). He has had solo exhibitions at the Power Plant, Toronto (2010); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2014); and La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2016) to name a few. He is currently based in Athens, Ohio, where he and Fitch, have their studio. Their collaborative practice is acknowledged as Fitch/Trecartin. Whether Line by Fitch/Trecartin is currently on view at the Prada Foundation Milan until August 5, 2019, and is accompanied by a book focusing on their collaborative practice. Trecartin and Fitch/Trecartin are represented by Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Sprüth Magers, Berlin. Trecartin’s movies are also archived and distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. A monograph on Trecartin’s work was published in 2011 by Rizzoli press, New York.


Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art recognizes we are on Treaty One Territory, the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe, Métis, Cree, Dakota, Dene, and Oji-Cree Nations.

Production of Class was made possible through funding support of Winnipeg Arts Council and the Manitoba Arts Council. The Artist would like to thank with love the performers without whom this work would not be possible, including: Aremelle Alhéritière, Ashley Au, Irene Bindi, Hilary Crist, Elise Dawson, Bronwyn Guard, Rebel Harris Hon, Maegan Hill-Carroll, Ming Hon, Caitlin Hutchison, julian k, Georgia Morrison, Hayley Mummery, O O O, Stephanie Poruchnyk-Butler, Malaikah Rang’inya, Andrea Roberts, Beth Schellenberg, Natalie Sharma, Tanja Woloshen. Filmed on location at Video Pool Media Arts Centre with assistance from jaymez and Ryan Simmons. Thank you to Kevin Doole who spent countess hours editing.

Comma Boat is courtesy of Fitch/Trecartin Studio; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Sprüth Magers, Berlin; and Electronic Arts Intermix; (EAI), New York.

Plug In ICA extends our gratitude to our artists, generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers. With special thanks to our Director’s Circle.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts. 

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget:

For more information on this exhibition, contact Jenifer Papararo at For general information please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art
Unit 1, 460 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada, R3C 0E8

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art recognizes we are on Treaty One Territory, the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe, Métis, Cree, Dakota and Oji-Cree Nations.
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