Since this past May, we have been working with Fysal Amirzada and Taylor Charbonneau to document their installation practice as it evolves in both a studio environment and in their home. Using a diverse collection of found materials, the artists create what they describe as "domestic landscape objects" -- functionally-ambiguous, improvised compositions that exist beyond the traditional boundaries of sculpture, performance, and interior design. In conjunction with a commissioned text by Lena Suksi, we intend to publish a booklet of their work by the end of 2019. An immersive exhibition and final presentation of the text will be held at their private home in September.
Fysal Amirzada and Taylor Charbonneau have been living and working in a shared home since 2016. Their practice integrates encountered materials into an active domestic economy. Taylor is a Leo and Fysal is a Capricorn.
Lena Suksi writes about art and pleasure in Toronto. Her work has appeared as exhibition texts and poetry read at Calaboose, Susan Hobbs, Cooper Cole, Georgia Scherman Projects, Towards, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
You have to live in spaces just like you have to live in bodies, but why resign ourselves to how they come? At the same time, are there good ways you can concede to laziness? The project of life pushes away the regiment of work. The cylinder is a beautifully lazy shape.
-- Lena Suksi
May - September 2019
Fysal Amirzada & Taylor Charbonneau, with text by Lena Suksi
Garbage day comes often. Routines can be distressing or comforting. You don’t have to ask where the trucks end up if you go for the pile of foam and plastic yourself.
Garbage day is a weekly routine, but two white pipes laid end to end can elevate a ragged rectangle of granite in seconds.
“Collection schedule” is a deceptively snobby phrase.
More so than the dump, the street is sketchy, mutable, unsanitized. The foam and textiles we protect our bodies with harbour the ghosts of bodies easing themselves. Sharing makes objects teem with ecosystems with all their attendant fragility and danger.
Exploring is comfortably risky. While light changes, the contours of homes and streets rearrange themselves for you, crying out for definition, for the delicacy of your arm straining to a lift and succeeding at a drag. The mass you pry away obscures your vision.
Tattooing and music are pursuits that conjure the exhilaration of pretending infinity. Constantly disassembling where you do those things is a cute strike that acknowledges the limits of pretend.
You have to live in spaces just like you have to live in bodies, but why resign yourself to how they come? At the same time, are there good ways to concede to laziness? The project of life pushes away the regiment of work. The cylinder is a beautifully lazy shape.
This comes to mind when you choose to make something stay that wants to go, when you choose to sit on something that might roll away at any minute. A tentative harness is just that. It’s nice for furniture to pose loud questions. It’s nice for rooms to emit an awkwardness that disavows fake invisibility.
When that awkwardness trips into menace by a change of light or an unexpected weight, it becomes a kind of joke about the threat of pursuing satisfaction.
Affinities of building happen by finding a way to make big rectangles work in a turret. Then: variation. Like the clock of public rhythms, people circulating in centres and parks, like news cycles happening minute to minute, the minutes of privacy can also be rearranged for ease, for the pleasure and challenge of change.
Relocations happening again and again soothe the arbitrariness and unfairness of what we have to abandon, of what we have to remake ourselves with.
Controlled change is soothing in an environment of disruption, of constant falling and awakening. Just as you can set an alarm or let the light filter through your eyelids, you can lay your head alone in something that once held something else. Or you can rotate the thing so you can watch it across the time you share with others.
It isn’t in the preciousness or stickiness of the plastic pallet or the iron headboard but in attunement, where these things are conductors for the living that happens among one another, the real meaning that happens in between the frustration of constant definition.
You should remind your guests and hosts of the constant negotiation everyday, of how someone has to lay down the teapot somewhere, for goodness’ sakes.
You’re limited by what you can carry out of a dumpster, but that might be a fifteen foot wire rack, light and draggable.
The black foam you drag away looks like sound systems, gym equipment and basalt slabs in video game tombs, but it works as a support. It’s porous but indelicate. It likes to be slotted with.
Slats, pads, voids and knobs call up motors, modems, homework, theatres and sex.
What a space can hold is more important than how the surface that marks it gets finished. When you put a book inside a box you don’t caress the box, you hope it fits. The more uses the more the way the surface feels is undone by its integrity.
A chain over a shipping pallet urges you to wear it as a bench.
It’s good to feel the hospitality of a kettle with the relaxed way it allows you to refill and repour it from the wrist, the precarity of an afternoon nap while friends meet in the next room, the movement of a spring street with people blinking their way out of their homes into traffic.
The variation proposed by these forms pries at the unvarious chairs and traffic lights that litter other environments.
Unlike the expectation of an assembly line or the attention of craftsmanship, everything here is provisional, in hectic balance. The ease of improvisation that happens in conversation with a roommate or sibling. The attention is relational, of the variety where you come together to go back to your refuge full, prepared to reinvent how you live again.
Reinvention is a reminder that we have to keep making up our minds as long as we can.
A cubby is for functional languour. Tattoo, make music, or dissemble small things to generate other small things in there. Two to six is a great number of guests.
Arrange something to sit on that looks like it might crush you. Arrange it again so you lie directly beneath the object with crush capacity. Direct it to a corner and put something inside so that it radiates a gentle request for attention.
There is a quality of attention that repurposes an object while never denying that it is what it was. Like a pillow fort, a jar full of tree, a milk crate on a stoop.
You can also do something else: ask yourself to sit on a source of light and look between your steepled hands and open knees at the glow.
The new hearth pulses rather than gathers.
Text by Lena Suksi
\\\\\ About Redd \ Flagg \\\\\
Redd \ Flagg supports artistic practices by providing regular studio rentals and access to space for workshops and community-oriented events.
Since 2018, Redd \ Flagg’s artist-in-residence program supplies a local emerging artist or collective with free studio space for one month. Through facilitated collaboration, studio visits and group critiques, the artist is given the opportunity to develop their work in a formal environment while receiving feedback from their peers. The structure of the residency is determined in close consultation with each artist or collective, dependent on their individual needs and capacities. A public exhibition or performance is optional. In conjunction with each residency, Redd\Flagg commissions a piece of critical and / or creative writing, composed as an evolving response to the artist’s work. With photographs and other documents of the artist’s practice, the commissioned text is then published, available in print and online.
The artist-in-residence program could not exist without the financial and organizational support of the artists who work full-time at Redd\Flagg. Thank you to all of our past and present studio tenants / friends / collaborators: Johnathan Adjemian, Basil AlZeri, Faraz Anoushahpour, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Victoria Cheong, Adrienne Crossman, Ryan Ferko, Oliver Husain, Felix Kalmenson, Katie Kotler, Jennifer Laiwint, Valerie Soo and Pöny.