For If I Can’t Dance’s Edition VI – Event and Duration (2015–2016), Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich are commissioned to produce the research project, Chroma Lives.
Chroma Lives is a performative exploration of Toronto’s 1983 exhibition Chromaliving: New Designs for Living. Chromaliving, organized by the artist collective ChromaZone, was originally staged in a vacant retail space in Toronto’s Bloor Street Colonnade, an upscale commercial-retail-residential development of high Modernist proportions. Featuring 150 artists, Chromaliving took the form of a hallucinogenic home décor show, with imaginative room environments parading influential artistic movements and commercial enterprises of the twentieth century, from World’s Fairs presentations, Bauhaus productions, to contemporary Memphis experiments. The labyrinth-like setting of domestic room displays—outfitted in artist-made furniture, dressed mannequins, appliances, and interior decoration—deliberately challenged the hierarchies of fine over applied art and design by making gentle parodies of both.
Chroma Lives, a pun on the original exhibition title, calls attention to the individuals behind the furnishings and the subsequent generations of Canadian artists who worked in this vein. In June 2016, Chroma Lives will remobilize Chromaliving’s formula for theatricalizing domestic space by staging a workspace in one of Toronto’s condo presentation centres and filling it with furnishings by contemporary Canadian artists. The site will function both as a public exhibition space and an archival hub where Freedman and Huston-Herterich will conduct recorded interviews with Chromaliving participants, spectators, critics, and artistic inheritors. Documentation in the form of newspapers, photographs, artworks, and ephemera will be collected in conjunction with oral testimonies, allowing subjective histories to determine the course of data collection. The project will culminate in an online digital archive that will also be deposited (in analogue form) at the City of Toronto Archives.
Chroma Lives is supported by the Toronto Friends of The Visual Arts and Camrost Felcorp.
Erin Alexa Freedman (b. 1988, Toronto, Canada) is a textile researcher living and working in New York. She holds a BA in Literary Studies from the University of Toronto and will be completing her MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center in May 2016. Erin approaches textiles and dress as material starting points for historical and anthropological research into colonial contact and indigenous agency, weaving technology, and cultural discourses that have contested the hierarchies among art, design, and craft. Erin’s research has been supported by the Textiles & Fashions department at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Anthropology division at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
Lili Huston-Herterich (b. 1988, Toronto, Canada) is a Toronto-based artist and curator. With a background in photography and a current focus on multidisciplinary installation, her studio practice is informed by the tendencies of space and how it affects the choreography of bodies within it. Working specifically with architecture, feminism, collectivity and domestic space, recent projects include participatory performance, immersive installation and utilitarian sculpture. She has exhibited at The Power Plant, Toronto (collaborative exhibition, 2015); Peregrine Program, Chicago (group exhibition, 2015); and 8-11 Gallery, Toronto (solo exhibition, 2014).
About the image
The attached image is a photograph by Tony Wilson (ChromaZone member and exhibiting artist) from the archives of the late ceramic artist Margaret Melchiori-Malouf. The photo documents three works: Loris Calzolari's Lacquer Table & Television Set, Helen Cloney's Teapot, and Margaret Melchiori-Malouf's Vase.
Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich are one of four commissions by If I Can’t Dance to produce a Performance in Residence research project as part of Edition VI – Event and Duration (2015–2016).
Their research project, Chroma Lives, will involve the creation of an expanded version of an archive for Toronto’s 1983 watershed exhibition Chromaliving: New Designs for Living, through the collection of subjective accounts of the exhibition and a consideration of the archive as a performative medium.
NEW EDITION ANNOUNCEMENT