Monday, September 18, 2006

The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach

The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach
is a project by conceptual artist Iris Haussler deconstructing the invented legacy of Joseph Wagenbach, a reclusive Toronto artist who is narrated to have filled his downtown Toronto home with sculptures and other works in the art brut and classical styles. The project invites meditation on the city’s identities as concealed and revealed through narrative and art; it invokes themes of immigration, identity, reclusion, exposure, liminality, forgetting and remembrance, loss and accumulation and memory. The Legacy is curated by Rhonda Corvese.

The project has raised controversy because of the ways it mingles reality and imagination in the construction of a narrative. Feature articles have appeared in the Globe & Mail ("Portrait of the artist as a young fake", 16 September 2006), the Toronto Star ("Homage to a man's faux life", 16 September 2006), and the National Post ("Reclusive downtown artist a hoax" and "Does the artist's story affect the art", 12 September 2006).

An exhibition and panel discussion will be held at the Goethe Institute (163 King Street West, Toronto) on this Wednesday September 20, 2006. The exhibition opens at 5:00 pm; the panel discussion will occur at 7:00 pm. Panelists are Iris Haussler (the artist); Markus Schubert (art brut photographer); Mark Kingwell (philosopher); and Amy Lavender Harris (Geographer and environmental phenomenologist). This event is open to the public; admission is free. The panel discussion promises to address questions (as well as pose new ones) about art, narrative, and identity (my own talk will be called "The City's Vanishing Narratives", and will explore 'The Legacy's' real and literary precedents).

The public is also able to tour the Joseph Wagenbach house on weekdays between 3:00 and 7:00 pm (Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm). It's located at 105 Robinson Street (two blocks north of Queen, west of Bathurst: Robinson runs parallel to Queen). Bookings must be pre-arranged through the website: .

(Images are copyright Iris Haussler)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This will be an exciting class trip this Wednesday.

Looking forward to it.