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Toril Johannessen, STAGES speaker series
Toril Johannessen, Unlearning Optical Illusions (III), 2015. Installation view, Trondheim Kunstmeseum, Trondheim.

Stages Speaker Series: Artist Talk by Toril Johannessen

March 6, 2017 – 7pm


*Offsite at Unit 73, CityPlace Mall, 333 St Mary Ave, Winnipeg

As part of our Stages Speaker Series, on Monday, March 6 at 7pm, Plug In ICA presents an artist talk by Norwegian artist, Toril Johannessen. Working in a range of media including photography, text, drawing, and installation, Johannessen’s practice verges on the scientific. From the collection of Icelandic Spar to an Aurora from the equator, she focuses her research on perception, often building disorienting installations. For her talk, Johannessen will give an introduction to her work with specific emphasis on the ongoing project,Unlearning Optical Illusions (I), (II), and (III].

Toril Johannessen’s practice engages methods and source material from the domains of science. Thematically, her work spans a wide range of interests, from visual perception to linguistics; impossible energy cycles; alternative methods for time measurement; optical illusions and spatial disorientation. By combining scientific fact and the history of science with her own investigations, she applies a critical and subjective view of the impact of modern science on the production of knowledge. She received her MA from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design. In addition, she studied at Mountain School of Art, and took part in the artist-in-residence program at WIELS, Brussels. She has exhibited widely, at venues and biennales including dOCUMENTA 13; the Istanbul Biennial; deAppel, Amsterdam; Witte de With, Rotterdam; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

This talk is available in our online video archive.


Over the next three months, Plug In ICA will present a series of talks featuring artists from Canada and the world. The series is offered in anticipation ofStages: Drawing the Curtain, a constellation of site-specific artworks to be launched in August 2017. This large-scale public art project asks artists to locate a site within the city of Winnipeg from which to contemplate the stage – its function as a platform; its meaning as a point of attention; and its physical design. Directed by their individual interests and material preferences, the artists will build sculptural ‘stages’ ranging in shape and form, connected as platforms for audiences to occupy, physically engage with, and contemplate.

The Stages Speaker Series commences with Norgwegian artist, Toril Johannessen, known for captivating installations that incorporate scientific methods, materials and language to poetic ends; and Toronto-based artist,Kara Hamilton, who questions object-subject relations in her dioramic installations.

In keeping with the drive of Stages to bring art beyond our walls, all talks forStages Speaker Series will be held at an off-site location: Unit 73, City Place Mall, 333 St Mary Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4A5.

Artists for Stages: Drawing the Curtain include: Abbas Akhavan (Toronto), Pablo Bronstein (London, UK), FASTWÜRMS (Toronto), Toril Johannessen (Tromsø, Norway), Kara Hamilton (Toronto), Federico Herrero (San Jose, Costa Rica), Divya Mehra (Winnipeg), and Krista Belle Stewart (Vancouver).

Stages Speaker Series and Stages: Drawing the Curtain are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through its New Chapter Program.