Archive:An Archive, But Not An AtlasApril 27–June 2, 2019

An Archive, But Not An Atlas

April 27–June 2, 2019

Alex Jacobs-Blum, Curtiss Randolph, Camille Rojas, Eve Tagny
Curated by Liz Ikiriko

On view: April 27–June 2, 2019 / Opening reception: Saturday, April 27th, 1–3pm

“An archive, but not an atlas: the point here is not to take the world upon one’s shoulders, but to crouch down to the earth, and dig.”

— Allan Sekula

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a group exhibition that explores personal and social histories as they are unearthed through movement, gesture, language, and land. Four emerging artists address unconscious memory as it is embodied across generations and geographies. Through photography, performance, and film, the artists’ knowledge is rooted in observing subtleties expressed in familial, domestic, or cultural locations.

For many marginalized people the denial of dominant culture to acknowledge inherent, embodied knowledge, acts as a form of erasure. The trauma experienced by the denial of intrinsic relationships to self and land becomes a silencing force, muting creative production. Art critic/historian Hal Foster writes of the incompleteness of the archive as a bridge between the found and the constructed, the factual and the fictional, the public and private. To accept this amorphous state is to accept multiple ways of knowing one’s past, present, and future. An Archive, But Not An Atlas makes space for these four artists to cultivate power and presence through body and land as they converse with history.

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a Featured Exhibition of the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and is presented in dialogue with Developing Historical Negatives, curated by Gabrielle Moser for Gallery 44. These thematically linked exhibitions investigate how artists engage the archive to question experiences of belonging, displacement, and situatedness in the Canadian landscape. Mining both personal and institutional narratives, the projects activate overlooked and marginalized histories, drawing attention to their ongoing resonance in the present.


Opening Reception and Curator’s Tour with Liz Ikiriko
Saturday, April 27th, 1–3pm
Join us in the gallery for refreshments and a curatorial walkthrough of the exhibition (tour will start at 1:30). See below for location and accessibility information.

Live Performance
System of a Gesture by Camille Rojas
Saturday, May 11th, 1–3pm
Free public premiere of System of a Gesture, choreographed by Camille Rojas. Performance will take place outside Youngplace; in case of rain, an alternate location will be announced closer to the date.

Reading Groups at Gallery 44 and Critical Distance
Saturday, May 18th, 12-3pm, at Gallery 44 and Saturday, May 25th, 1–3pm at Critical Distance
Join curators Gabrielle Moser and Liz Ikiriko in a conversation about the gestures artists and researchers use to activate the photographic archive. Reading out loud from performance studies scholar Diana Taylor’s book, The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), and photography theorist Tina M. Campt’s book, Image Matters (2012), the group will meet across both gallery spaces to consider the “archival choreographies” deployed by artists to develop alternate histories from private and public collections.

Free but please RSVP to for more information.


Critical Distance is located in Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street btw Dundas and Queen Street in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood. Google Map

Artscape Youngplace and Critical Distance are fully accessible by Ontario standards, with a wheelchair ramp at the 180 Shaw Street doors, an elevator servicing every floor, and a fully accessible washroom on every level. The nearby 63 Ossington bus on the TTC is wheelchair accessible. All stairwell installations will be viewable from accessible locations.


Alex Jacobs-Blum is a band member of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory of the Lower Cayuga Nation and Euro-Canadian. She dissects what it means to live in-between two worlds. With a focus on Indigenous-settler reconciliatory relations, she employs ironic storytelling as an act of survivance to deal with the conflicts of assimilation and cultural dominance. Jacobs-Blum has exhibited nationally at the University of Ottawa, Woodland Cultural Centre, and the Centre for Social Innovation, ON and shown internationally at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. She holds a Bachelor of Photography from the Sheridan Institute of Technology (2015).

Curtiss Randolph (Toronto) is a multidisciplinary artist working in film, performance and photography. Having grown up in theatre environments, the elements of stage production are influential to his practice. Randolph uses traditional analogue and digital photography to experiment with non-linear forms of personal storytelling. Randolph holds a Bachelor of Photography from Ryerson University (2018).

Camille Rojas (Toronto) is a multidisciplinary artist working with film, photography and dance. Shifting her position between camera operator and subject, she documents dancing bodies as a form of deconstructing the emotional fungibility of public and domestic spaces. Rojas holds a Bachelor of Photography from Ryerson University (2017).

Eve Tagny (Montreal) is a multidisciplinary artist working with photography, video, writing and environmentally focused installation. Her practice is focused on mending traumatic disruptions through nature. Her work has been shown in Canada and abroad. Her photo book Lost Love, was the recipient of an Honourable Mention from the Burtynsky Grant and has been on display as part of her first solo exhibition at Never Apart Centre in Montreal. She also was shortlisted for the 2018 Contemporary African Photography prize (CAP) and was the recipient of the MFON Legacy Grant. Tagny holds a BFA in Film Production from Concordia University and a certificate in Journalism from the University of Montreal.


Liz Ikiriko is an independent curator and photo editor. She has worked on national publications including The Ethnic Aisle, Toronto Life, Macleans and Canadian Business. As a curator she has organized exhibitions with BAND Gallery, Wedge Curatorial Projects, Sheridan College and the National Music Centre. She has juried and reviewed portfolios at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the Flash Forward International Competition and the Contemporary African Photography prize. She currently teaches at Ryerson University and is an MFA candidate in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University (2019).


Contact Photography Festival and the Toronto Arts Council

Critical Distance is pleased to present An Archive, But Not An Atlas as a Featured Exhibition of the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the largest annual photography festival globally, with over 200 exhibitions and events from May 1-31 in greater Toronto.For more information on this exhibition and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, visit their website. We are also grateful for the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council in making this exhibition possible.


News, press, publications and more information.

Editor’s Pick
Canadian Art | April 12, 2019

images, top: Eve Tagny, Jeannette Tagny, née Mapokam Kandoum, 2019; Camille Rojas, System of a Gesture, 2017; bottom: Alex Jacobs-Blum, Onákdo:t, 2018; Curtiss Randolph, Over the Balcony from series My Father’s Son, 2017. 


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