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The Art of Doing Something Else

Do you ever notice how sometimes you go into a shop, or eat at a restaurant, and you can just tell–usually by the outfit and the attitude–that you’re being served by an artist or, more likely, an art student. They seem bored, and clearly dislike their job.

Rikrit Tiravanija makes art. Image: columbia.edu

Every job holds creative potential, and every act is a creative act, as many artists–particularly practitioners of relational aesthetics– have noted. In fact, every situation holds potential. We saw the film Invictus recently, which is, in part about the revelations that Mandela came to terms with while in prison.

Though the art student may consider it a dull, temporary gig, working in the service industry can be a satisfying job. It just suffers from bad pr.

Service in general suffers in this digital age where consumer awareness is at a level that almost does away with the concept of the salesperson.  Customers no longer need ‘help’, they just need someone to ring in their purchases. So the shop assistant can end up feeling worthless, and the customer can end up feeling badly.

Jon Sasaki, Vacuum, 2009. Image: jessicabradleyartprojects.com

The cycle of futility is echoed with quirky humour in the work of Toronto artist John Sasaki, who has a show now on at Jessica Bradley Art and Projects. Jon’s work manages to be both important and funny, which is rare for an artist. Many of his pieces are reminiscent of the great early video works of William Wegman.

A particularly strong work of Jon’s is the performance where he had a number of people pushing vacuum cleaners, from which feathers would blow out everywhere. Very Sisyphian.

“This solo exhibition is an opportunity to see what many have been talking about – the original, quirky and fundamentally serious work of an artist whose works in various media bring wit and wisdom to pathos and futility.”

Sisyphus, forever pushing his rock uphill. Image: keithlyons.com

January 09, 2010 — February 06, 2010
Jessica Bradley Art + Projects, Toronto

Click HERE for gallery website and HERE for artist website.

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