Referencing the history of post-minimalist sculpture, Sheena Hoszko enacts a personal protocol in the production of her work. Her performative acts are rooted in walking, as she uses her steps as a personal unit of measurement. By mapping sites with her body, she reveals power dynamics, investigating traces of actions and ways of transcribing matter. With 2012’s hommage to Café Cléopâtre entitled Red Light Monument: Floor Area of Café Cléopâtre’s Stages (500 square feet), created for DARE-DARE, Hoszko measured the surface area of the two main stages, which was then presented to the public in the form of an outdoor event-lighting installation of the same scale.
This research work, conducted prior to production, allows Hoszko to produce a performative act in which she is invisible to the viewer. Using a subjective measuring system based on the locations she visits, she creates apparatuses and sculptures that in turn evoke this subjectivity. Centre de prévention de l’immigration de Laval / Laval Immigration Holding Centre, presented in the small gallery, is based on a mapping of the federal office of the same name. The main purpose of this facility is to detain undocumented migrants whose identities have not yet been verified, or who, according to the government, may constitute a national security threat. These decisions are often based upon the migrants’ countries of origin. Those detained, including children, are held without knowing the duration of their detention in prison-like conditions.
The imposing sculpture is made of temporary fencing placed face-to face, forming a tight grid and limiting the visitors’ movements. The use of generic fencing commonly used to restrict access to public areas such as construction sites and to contain crowds during demonstrations, are in turn used by the artist to erase all traces of her own movements. The structure recreates the entire perimeter of the Immigration Holding Centre on a 1:1 scale, covering 572 feet. Central to the work are the rigid materials, the weight of its mass and its impersonal appearance, which reflect the qualities associated with the institution itself. Hoszko recontextualizes the Immigration Holding Centre by superposing the fencing into a grid that draws attention to the means used by governmental institutions to maintain order and impose their control over individuals. In conjunction with the sculpture, the artist also provides further information visitors who want to learn more about the detention centre. Through an intersection of art and social justice, Sheena Hoszko has created a work that goes beyond purely aesthetic considerations to provoke questions concerning unjust immigration policies and procedures.
ROUND TABLE: DETENTION AND THE CITY SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 27 – 2pm to 4pm
Discussion around the theme of detention and the city with NASRIN HIMADA, SHEENA HOSZKO and JAGGI SINGH. The event will take place at the Cagibi (5490 Saint-Laurent).
Born in Outaouais, Québec, Sheena Hoszko is a Montreal-based sculptor examining materiality as it relates to mapping and power. She studied at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and completed an MFA at Concordia University where she received a SSHRC grant for her research. Hoszko’s work has been shown in Argentina, Canada, Germany, and the UK. Her most recent project mapping CBSA Immigration Detention Centres will also be shown at Toronto’s A Space Gallery (2015). In the winter of 2015 she will be in residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico, USA, as part of their Food Justice programming.
The artist would like to thank Marie-Michelle Deschamps, John Fanara, Kandis Friesen, MP Grenier, Anna Hawkins, Farah Khan, Michelle Lacombe, Jess Mac, Sarah Mangle, Luanne Martineau, Cheryl Simon, the Centre Clark staff, Moduloc Montreal, and the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec for their support.