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Kai Chan: A Spider's Logic

Date Nov 7, 2010 - May 1, 2011
Artist Kai Chan
Curated by Sarah Quinton

Exhibition Overview

A 35-year retrospective at the Textile Museum of Canada from November 7, 2010 - May 1, 2011 and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham from September 26, 2010 - January 30, 2011.

A national tour is being organized with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Arts Council..

Kai Chan expresses the small moments of daily life, employing materials and techniques that speak to tradition and modernity. To view Chan's artwork is to see him as a ‘master of the unremarkable’ – twigs, thread, toothpicks and buttons are the ephemeral materials that he employs to create transfixing ‘other-worlds.’ He works with common, household ‘things’ that are reminders of his years growing up in China. Chan has altered the gene pools of what constitutes sculpture and what constitutes textiles by manipulating and representing elements of the natural world to conjure impressions that play on natural phenomena, geographical boundaries and cultural influences.

Additional Information

A Spider’s Logic brings together many key artworks that have never been seen together before. Significant focus is placed on new work made especially for this exhibition.

Kai Chan’s work is critically received equally within the discipline of textiles and the visual arts in general. He participated in the prestigious 12th International Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1985, and the equally notable International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland in 2001, where he exhibited Ocean, one in a series of complex wall hangings comprised of thousands of toothpicks and thread – an indication that woven tapestry is now only one textile process among many, thanks to artists like Chan whose work is seen in a contemporary context of textiles as substance, structure and subject matter.

Related Programs and Events

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Curator's Tour
Wednesday January 26, 6:30 pm
Join Sarah Quinton in the galleries for a tour of Kai Chan: A Spider's Logic.
Free with admission.

Conversations in the Gallery with Kai Chan and Lyn Carter
Wednesday February 23, 6:30 pm
Join Kai Chan and sculpture artist and educator Lyn Carter in the galleries for a conversation about Kai Chan: A Spider's Logic. They will discuss the exhibition with each other and the audience.
Free with admission.

Curator's Tour
Wednesday March 30, 6:30 pm
Join Sarah Quinton in the galleries for a tour of Kai Chan: A Spider's Logic.
Free with admission.

Digital Piano Performance: Resonating Reflections with Lee Pui Ming
Wednesday April 13, 6:30 pm
Lee Pui Ming is an improvising pianist and composer who has been hailed as "the most unique genius to touch a keyboard in Canada since Glenn Gould" (Harry Curie, Kitchener-Waterloo Record). Pui will play a concert of improvisations inspired by the landscpae, breadth, and breath of Kai Chan's work.
Members $12, Non-members $15, Full-time students Pay-What-You-Can.
Advance tickets may be purchased in person at the TMC's front desk. Please arrive early, seating is limited.

<i>Mirage</i>, 2008, silk thread, nails, 178 x variable width x 2 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien
<i>Deep Breathing</i>,  2009, stainless steel, silk thread, silk organza, cotton cloth, 141 x 33 x 9 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien
<i>Silk 2008</i>, 2008, silk thread, nails, 110 x 38 x 3 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien
<i>Moment</i>, 2008,  aluminum, wood, silk and linen thread, 72 x 18 x 10 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien
<i>Aurora</i>, 1975, cotton and nylon thread, wood, 102 x 305 x 25 cm.  Collection of the artist. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien
<i>Link</i>, 2009/10, silk thread, 213 x 432 x 5 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Cheryl O'Brien