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Corinne Thiessen   Factory Logic



December 5, 2015 - January 31, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, December 5 at 8 PM
Reception sponsored by Three Legged Dog: Graphic Design

Factory Logic, is a new large-scale installation by Lethbridge artist, Corinne Thiessen. Honing a material language developed in earlier works, such as A Horse in Motion (2013) and Chronic (2015), this exhibition uses a combination of natural and industrial material, and a collection of repurposed urban waste to create a fascinating and whimsical hybrid. Tree branches are formed into marionette-like, hoofed limbs trotting obediently, systematically in place in an endlessly looping cycle.  

Using rotating motors to perpetuate a collective militant march, the animals’ trot is anthropomorphic and uncanny.  It is in this methodical repetition that we encounter the absurd, a thread that runs through much of Thiessen’s work.  It calls to mind both the meditations on labour and toil in Ecclesiastes and Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus.  In the former, toil is seen as a fruitless vanity. The worker gains nothing from their efforts, which provide rewards that are merely temporary. Similarly, Sisyphus is the ultimate absurd hero.  Both irreverent and impudent, Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to ceaselessly roll a bolder to the top of a mountain, only to have it fall back on him each time he reaches the pinnacle.  A tragic hero caught for all eternity, straining in toil, acutely aware of the futility of his struggle he continues on.  Camus writes:

“The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd.  But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.  Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent.”

In Factory Logic, Thiessen’s tethered limbs are akin to all of us who work to make something of ourselves within a capitalist environment.  Are we gaining anything from our everyday struggles or are we simply and absurdly chasing after wind?

Corinne Thiessen is a multidisciplinary artist born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  She holds an MFA from the University of Lethbridge. She is curious about human social activity, especially pertaining to deviance, social norms, self-regulation and social control. Through kinetic objects, drawing, video and performance, her work explores physical and ideological impediments, repression and “acting out.”  Thiessen has presented in group exhibitions and collaborative performances at home and abroad such as Ortstermin, Berlin. Her recent site-specific installation, Chronic was on view at the Esker Foundation in spring 2015.  Her collaborative drawing performance and installation Liar, Liar! with Amy Modahl has been exhibited at the Petit Trianon, Stride Gallery and upcoming at Soo Visual Arts Centre in Minneapolis. She has participated in artist residencies at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin, and ReMaking, and Mutopia 7 at the Banff Centre.  She has published in Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture as well as (Re)Activating Objects: Social Theory and Material Culture at the University of Western Ontario. Thiessen has taught at the post-secondary level in the Media department at Lethbridge College and in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lethbridge.

Factory Logic is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and curated by Christina Cuthbertson.  Funding assistance from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Lethbridge. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Video by Rod Leland Photo.

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