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Reconsidering Jack Torrance's All Work and No Play
19 April 2008 - 14 June 2008
Tuesday to Saturday from 2 to 7 pm and by appointment

Opening Friday 18 April 2008 6-9 pm

The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, © 1980 Warner Bros.

Erna Hécey Gallery is pleased to present Reconsidering Jack Torrance’s All Work and No Play (2006-2008), a new work by Austrian-Canadian artist Klaus Scherübel.

Scherübel’s self-reflexive and multidisciplinary practice involves a systematic investigation of artistic activity and the role of the artist. In his most recent work, he produces and edits the work of Jack Torrance, known since Jack Nicholson played him in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). The current exhibition reexamines the perception of this highly ambiguous work by rendering it accessible for the first time in its integral version, published in facsimile.

In the film, Jack Torrance is an author suffering from writer’s block, a difficulty that will be at the origin of a rather unusual work. Its content consists in the seemingly endless repetition of a single phrase: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” whose typographical variations run the gamut of textual forms, from journalistic columns to concrete poetry. This creation, interpreted in the film as the sign of an artistic impasse and the symptom of a psychological crisis, is a remarkable work that puts into question several modernist paradigms. Reconsidering Jack Torrance’s All Work and No Play aims to extricate this literary and artistic heritage from the context of the film in producing and presenting Jack’s text as an “autonomous” work. The work comprises an installation with framed large-scale prints and a sound recording in addition to the new literary work that also serves as a catalogue.

A preliminary version of this project was published in the catalogue Viennese Story (Secession, 1993). Reconsidering Jack Torrance’s All Work and No Play is inscribed in Klaus Scherübel’s conceptual practice, which, using media as diverse as photography, painting, video, and text, proposes a critical analysis of the different forms of cultural production issuing from the domains of visual arts, literature, cinema, and television. In his practice Scherübel adopts several roles: artist at work, publication director, editor, producer, character of a sitcom, sponsor, etc. This new work follows from Mallarmé, The Book, where the artist acts as publication director and archivist of this paradoxical work, whose Dutch version will be presented at S.M.A.K. in 2009.

Born in Austria, Klaus Scherübel works and lives in Montréal. His work has been presented at Ursula Blickle-Stiftung, Unteröwisheim, Germany (2007), Musée des beaux-arts of Canada, Ottawa (2006), Centre d’art contemporain Optica in collaboration with Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2005), Galerie Art & Essai, Université de Rennes (2005), Artspeak with the collaboration of Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver (2004), Printed Matter, New York (2004), Transmediale, Berlin (2004), Fundazió Juan Miró de Barcelone (2003), VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine, Montréal (2002), and Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz (2001). The German, English, and French versions of Mallarmé, The Book were edited by Walther König, Printed Matter, and Optica in collaboration with MUDAM.


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