Robyn Cumming: Bad Teeth
May 2–26, 2013


ESP presents a series of self-reflexive works by Robyn Cumming. The exhibition depicts the perpetually self-deconstructing nature of the human creature in contemporary imagery. Many of the pieces assemble found objects that resemble bodily features to explore physique through distortion, decoration, ridicule, and goofery. Flirting with satire, science fiction, kitsch, and slapstick, these representations give a sense of simultaneous mortification and fascination, oscillating between the alluring and the ludicrous. The works take the form of both a unified, singular subject and a collection of fragmented and disparate objects, constantly making light of their own construction and materiality. The exhibition explores the mask in both the comical, clowning sense and the emotive, social sense, encouraging rumination on ugliness, thingness, and our constantly shifting perspectives on the human form.

Included in the exhibition are restagings using original historical photographs Cumming has culled from Ebay searching with the description “bad teeth”.  Initially her interest was in what type of teeth each seller deemed as “bad” as well as how some bad teeth were overlooked because the photographs had more significant content worth describing.  As the collection grew it became an archive of sorts as well as a reference that explores the tension between the terms “bad” and “teeth” and the relationship between the imagery contained therein.


Produced with the support of the Ontario Arts Council

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