Mircea Kantor at the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang

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Romanian artist and Prix Marcel Duchamp winner Mircea Cantor (b. 1977) is the subject of an exhibition at the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang  this winter. This is the first solo presentation of his work in Canada. Cantor is best known for his ostensibly simple video narratives that slowly build to subtle but powerful climax leaving the audience with open conclusions.

Included in the exhibition will be one of Cantor’s most popular video works, Wind Orchestra (2012) seen at the Pompidou Centre a few years ago. In this video, a young boy stands three knives on their handle end and blows them over, like a row of dominoes now more threatening than innocent. The violent implications of playing dominoes with knives appears lost on the boy, who does not seem to recognize the power of the knife as something more ominous than a toy. Another object’s common purpose is similarly disrupted in Double Heads Matches (2003). Cantor convinced a match factory in Romania to halt regular production and double dip a series of matches by hand, rendering the typical function of a match more dangerous, but potentially also more cost effective. In both instances, the original symbolic meaning of the object is changed, either by a simple act or change.