What's Happening

Visiting Artist in Residence | Theo Sims

November 17, 2011 - February 17, 2012
In collaboration with the Illingworth Kerr Gallery
Theo Sims will be Artist in Residence at ACAD from November 17 to early February 2012. While in Calgary Sims will rebuild The Candahar, and develop a new project in collaboration with local arts organisations. The Candahar was first presented in 2006 at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery under the stewardship of Brian Flynn and with the assistance of ACAD students including Gabriel Temme. The reincarnation of the project will incorporate the assistance of Chris and Conor Roddy, two collaborators who Sims has worked with on previous presentations of The Candahar, in Montreal, St. John’s, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Theo Sims, (b. Brighton, England), has just ended his tenure as Director of the Context Gallery, Derry, Ireland to focus on his own art practice. He Studied Fine Art at The Winchester School of Art and Brighton Polytechnic before receiving an MFA from the University of Ulster, Belfast in 1994. He moved to Canada in 1998, and was Co-managing Editor of BlackFlash magazine from 2001-2004 and Programming Coordinator of Winnipeg’s Aceartinc. from 2004-2008. Theo Sims has exhibited extensively across Canada and Europe in the past two decades. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Maclean’s, C magazine, Border Crossings, Circa and BlackFlash.

Sims’s art is socially engaged. While sculptural, he rarely exhibits works in gallery contexts, deploying objects within situations that involve communities, instigate events and build relationships that test the boundaries of what might be called visual art.

Social interaction is at the heart of Sims’s The Candahar, a sculpture that invites our participation, and how we might consider the familiarity of a neighbourhood pub as a proposition for something more. The Candahar is a detailed recreation of a Belfast public house, named for a South Belfast Street. The installation is completed when staffed in collaboration with two Belfast bar tenders Chris and Conor Roddy, who act as unscripted performers. The project fuses the authentic with fantasy, spectacle with stage and at its heart acts as a catalyst for conversation, debate and dialogue – and a pint here or there.

Since its first presentation at the Alberta College of Art and Design in September 2006, The Candahar has been staged as part of the 2007 Biennale de Montréal, as well as at PlugIn ICA, Winnipeg, and The Rooms, St. Johns. Its last exhibition was in February 2010 hosted by Presentation House Gallery as part of the Vancouver Winter Olympics Cultural Olympiad. The final stop included performances and interventions by Rebecca Belmore, Skeena Reece, Paul Butler, the Rodney Graham Band, and Stan Douglas.

Sims has invited artists residing in Northern Ireland and North America to create work for the walls of The Candahar, including pieces by Chris Roddy, Daniel Jewesbury, Locky Morris, Mark Orange, Brian Flynn, Richard Dyck, Paul Butler, Aurora Landin, Roger Crait, and a significant number of photographs donated by Wayne Giles. In addition to these pieces, the installation has hosted performances, talks, and collaborations with artists such as Christian Bök, Urban Shaman Gallery/ Steve Loft, Tim Lee, Kevin Schmidt Band, Jeremy Shaw, Lee Henderson, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Eli Boronowsky, Thursdays Writing Collective, Althea Thauberger, Cranfield and Slade, Nardwuar, Ivan Coyote & Pat Brayden, Ron Hines, Elizabeth Bachinsky andNeil Eustache.

**Image Credit: The Candahar (2006-2011), mixed media installation featuring Chris and Conor Roddy, variable dimensions. Photo: Guy L'Heureux.