Photo: Jordan Ellis
Robert Hengeveld - Toronto, Canada
48 -3 Heenan Place (off of University Avenue,
south of Wellington Street West)
[ photographs ] [ video ]
In Howl, a loading dock is transformed into the site of a hunt which is both theatrical and comedic.
Central to the installation is a coyote-on-rabbit chase that loops continuously along the rails of a
steel roller coaster. Mechanical birds and decoy deer form a flamboyant chorus, dancing along to an operatic
soundtrack. A curious blend of clumsy choreography and sights commonly found in the world of the amusement
park, Howl offers an absurdist take on how we represent the natural world.
Robert Hengeveld is an installation artist who is engaged in an exploration of objects which are manufactured
to represent and replace what is real. Often elaborate and immersive by nature, his installations function
as fantasy tableaux, filled with mass-produced decoys and artificial flora. The purpose of a decoy is
multi-faceted: it is both a lure and a distraction. Though the artificial world of the decoys falls well
short of achieving a convincing substitute for the living world, Howl proposes a campy vision for wildness
in the city.
Robert Hengeveld completed his MFA at the University of Victoria (2005) and studied at the Ontario
College of Art and Design. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at the University of Guelph in the School
of Environmental Science. His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally with past and
upcoming exhibitions at The Power Plant (Toronto), Hallwalls Contemporary (Buffalo), and Mercer Union
Represented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Toronto.