TORONTO, Ont., January 28, 2011 – The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is pleased to launch its 2011 season with two projects by internationally-acclaimed, Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob, and a special presentation of Geoffrey Pugens’ two-channel video, Sahara Sahara, taking place in its galleries from February 4 through March 27, 2011. The opening reception will take place on February 4, from 8 -11 p.m.

Luis Jacob | Pictures at an Exhibition is the second chapter in a multi-city, mid-career survey of his work and features a carefully chosen selection of early and recent work, including Album X, the latest in a series of narrative sequences consisting of hundreds of images culled from a variety of published sources mounted together to form an “image bank”. In addition to small hard-edge and monochromatic paintings, the exhibition also includes a selection of large-scale canvases from the series They Sleep With One Eye Open, (2008). In each of these, two hallucinatory eyes emerge from a dazzling patterned background, like spectral faces from murky depths. Installed together they appear to watch visitors with an intense gaze, and suggest the possibility of an uncanny but living work of art endowed with animistic powers.

In conjunction with his exhibition in MOCCA’s main space, Luis Jacob has been invited to curate an exhibition for the recently inaugurated National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art program. Featuring works by Walter S. Allward, François Bonvin, Eric Cameron, Michel Campeau, Murray Favro, Dan Flavin, General Idea, Richard Gorman, Emanuel Hahn, Jenny Holzer, Michael Morris, and Ron Mueck Cabinet (NGC Toronto) combines objects drawn from various collection areas of the National Gallery of Canada not ordinarily displayed together, extending the thematic notions of viewership, perception and the light of artistic inspiration embodied in Pictures at an Exhibition.

In the face of the global resource shift, Geoffrey Pugens’ Sahara Sahara depicts speculative pre-apocalyptic myth-making. The 2-channel video follows a small organized group of misfits who are vandalizing local technologies and the fossil fuel industry. Cinematic and absurd, the video occupies the heist, action and dance genres to seductively address machismo and the recent economic crisis.


  • This is Luis Jacob’s first mid-career survey exhibition in Toronto.
  • The City of Toronto selected Luis Jacob as the winner of the Dufferin Railway Underpass Public Art Competition.
  • Cabinet (NGC Toronto) is the second exhibition to be presented as part of the three year National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art program that will see the two institutions co-organize and co-present a series of exclusive exhibitions in MOCCA’s newly-renovated project space, drawn from the NGC’s extensive contemporary art collection. These will include the presentation of single works, new acquisitions or full scale exhibitions designed to complement MOCCA’s existing programming.

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  • David Liss, Artistic Director & Curator, MOCCA:  “For these projects Luis Jacob has conceived of a truly unique approach to exhibition-making that bisects artistic and curatorial practice, museology, viewership and perception. He has effectively created a vision that is about vision. “

  • Luis Jacob, Artist: ” I always wonder why we look at pictures — why, in other words, we turn towards fictions in order to understand the truth. Exhibitions rehearse their audience in various ways of seeing, and of relating to what we see.  We can therefore say that an art exhibition is at once an actual exhibition, and a performance of one.  Exhibitions are models. Artists have ceaselessly tried to invent images that allow us to perceive the difference between the dead version of things, and the living version of things.  I believe this is what all artists are trying to do when they make art, and what all viewers are trying to experience when they go to see art: to create the conditions for the artwork to come alive.”

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Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, MOCCA, Luis Jacob, Pictures at an Exhibition, Cabinet (NGC Toronto), NGC@MOCCA, National Gallery of Canada, Walter S. Allward, François Bonvin, Eric Cameron, Michel Campeau, Murray Favro, Dan Flavin, General Idea, Richard Gorman, Emanuel Hahn, Jenny Holzer, Michael Morris, Ron Mueck, Geoffrey Pugen, Sahara Sahara.

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The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) was founded from the former Art Gallery of North York in 1999, with the mandate to exhibit, research, collect, and promote innovative art by Canadian and non-Canadian artists whose works engage and reflect the relevant stories of our times. In 2005, MOCCA relocated to the West Queen West Art + Design District in downtown Toronto, in the heart of one of North America’s most dynamic arts communities and functions effectively as a nucleus of energies for cultural production and exchange. Since 2006, MOCCA draws 40,000 visitors annually.

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The National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is generously supported by Cineplex Media, Porter Airlines, and The Ouellette Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by AXA Art Canada. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is also grateful for the patronage of THE ART DEPT., a leadership circle of MOCCA patrons.

All programs and activities of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art are supported by Toronto Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, BMO Financial Group, individual memberships and private donations.

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Fayiaz Chunara