Juan Ortiz-Apuy
Waiting for the Barbarians (The Realia Series) 20 mar.— 27 apr. 2013

Inspired by J.M. Coetzee’s novel of the same name, Juan Ortiz-Apuy’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, entitled Waiting for the Barbarians (The Realia Series), presents a body of work that ranges from objects and interactive sculpture to designs, photography and interventions.

Although Ortiz-Apuy’s work is dedicated to research and informed by an interest in global politics and economics, the results are often playful, humorous and absurd. In this new series he draws the title from the realm of instruction and education. Realia is the name given to common everyday objects when used as teaching aids for improving the understanding of “real life” situations. Through a series of themes and motifs, Ortiz-Apuy manipulates these objects to hint at the processes of globalization and the circulation of goods, people and capital. As the artist states: “I was interested in bubbles, air, and the idea of inflation as a sculptural activity—a state of tension and pressure—but also partly on account of being a trope for thinking about inflation as an economic process of strain and anxiety as well”.

Firmly anchored in art history, the series also functions as a study of minimalism. Ortiz-Apuy approaches minimalism in criticism but also in admiration, at times using it as a design of language, and at others as a setting on which to build a narrative or biographical content. These three main themes; a novel, globalization, and a period in art history, are all played out simultaneously in the exhibition – sometimes exchanging and coming together, and sometimes breaking apart.

Juan Ortiz-Apuy was born in Costa Rica in 1980, and lives and works in Montréal. Ortiz-Apuy has a BFA from Concordia University, a post-graduate diploma from the Glasgow School of Art, and an MFA from NSCAD University. Recent solo exhibitions include the MacLaren Arts Centre, the Whippersnapper Gallery, and the Sporobole Art Center. Among other recognitions, he was the recipient of the Halifax Regional Municipality Contemporary Visual Art Award in 2011. His work has been reviewed and published in numerous magazines, newspapers and books, such as The Brave New Avant Garde by Marc James Léger, and articles in Le Devoir, the Montreal Mirror and the Barrie Advance. Upcoming solo exhibitions at A Space Gallery (Toronto), ARPRIM, Eastern Edge Gallery (St John’s) and ARTSPACE.