“Nothing is built on stone, everything on sand, but our duty is to build as if sand were stone.” – Jorge Luis Borges.
This verse could act as a definition of an artist’s role in our society: they create works that transcend time and place, exploring the human experience in the face of the world’s uncertainty and instability. These themes—belonging, precariousness and transience, as well as time, place and identity—are all present in a new AGO exhibition that takes its name from the verse above: As If Sand Were Stone.
Opening on May 20, As If Sand Were Stone: Contemporary Latin American Art from the AGO Collection showcases the AGO’s significant collection of Latin American contemporary art and highlights artists who create works that explore the world’s uncertainty. Many of these works will be on view for the first time, including a number of works by Cuban artists that joined the collection as a result of a decade-long partnership with Sherritt International Corporation. The exhibition will occupy Level 5 of the Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, and will showcase works from 25 artists in various media, ranging from works on paper, paintings and sculptures to large-scale installations.
Sherritt International Corporation has worked closely with the AGO over the past decade to acquire contemporary art by Cuban artists, and as such contributed to building the largest museum collection of Cuban art in Canada. This exhibition marks the tremendous gift of the Sherritt Collection to the AGO, and includes works by Los Carpinteros, Carlos Garaicoa, Glenda Leon, Tania Bruguera and Wilfredo Prieto.
Other Latin American artists featured in the exhibition include Francis Alÿs (whose acclaimed solo exhibition, Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation, recently closed), José Bedia, Osmar Dillon, Eugenio Dittborn, Arcangelo Ianelli, Guillermo Kuitca, Paulo Roberto Leal, Jac Leirner, Julio Le Parc, Mateo López, Marepe, Cildo Meireles, Vik Muniz, Tomie Ohtake, Gabriel Orozco, Doris Salcedo, Jesus Rafael Soto, Yutaka Toyota and Rubem Valentim.
As If Sand Were Stone: Contemporary Latin American Art from the AGO Collection opens on May 20 and runs until August 6. Tickets are included in General Admission, but AGO Members see it for free.
Are you an AGOinsider yet? If not, sign up to have stories like these delivered straight to your inbox every week.