superyoung
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April 8 to July 1, 2017
Central Gallery
The category of youth is not a straightforward one. Beyond its designation of the stage of life between childhood and adulthood, it encompasses a complex multifaceted “imaginary”—one that is rich in analogous associations and imagery. In its most negative light, youth is denigrated as the incarnation of debauchery and excess, but in its most positive light, youth is idealized as the embodiment of pre-socialized authenticity, unbridled potential, creativity and freedom. The celebratory virtues typically associated with youth strikingly correspond with those sought after by many artists within their own art practices.

A fascination with youth’s attributed imaginary is vividly articulated throughout the artworks in superyoung, a companion exhibition to Kids these days. Displaying an aesthetics of youth, the featured artworks capture and embody an overarching youth-inspired perspective, mindset or way of communicating. Unlike many of the artists in Kids these days who predominantly assume the role of observer, the artists in superyoung unreservedly adopt and appropriate attitudes, styles, vernaculars and modes of expression commonly ascribed to youth and youth culture. This youth-inspired performativity also manifests itself less explicitly through the creation of artworks made within a coded sensibility of youth—as if made by youth themselves.

Comprised of drawings, collages, textiles, sculptures and videos, superyoung presents a wide range of work marked by aesthetics, styles and strategies that broadly evoke youth and youth culture. These works often display an unpolished, unschooled aesthetic or conversely, a naïve, romantic expressivity. Some recurring tropes are heightened emotionality, nostalgia, humor, playfulness, irony, cynicism and an appreciation of D.I.Y and pop culture.

The curatorial research for this exhibition was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Curated by Zoë Chan

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