In this multi-sensory project, Canadian visual artist and performer Shary Boyle explores the creative nature of identity and personality in an age where social media has become a stage for self-presentation.
A theatrical exhibition
Borrowing a line from UK poet Kae Tempest’s 2017 song “Europe Is Lost,” Outside the Palace of Me expresses the artist’s ever-mounting anxieties about global crises within the context of identity theatre. Reflecting on contemporary constructions of self through the language of costume, character, set design and stage effects, Boyle explores how we see each other and how we see ourselves.
Outside the Palace of Me is a multi-sensory installation featuring drawings, ceramic sculptures, life-sized automatons, two-way mirrors, a coin-operated sculpture and an interactive score. Reimagining the museum as a collective performance space, the artist worked closely with a scenic designer, robotics engineer, amusement park innovator and costume artist to joyfully envision a set for humanity and imagination.
Boyle mines histories of craft and obsolete technologies to connect our current realities to legacies of the past. Revolving the stage around her uncanny characters and their destabilized audience, she urges viewers to think critically about how we create both ourselves and the world we inhabit.
About the artist
Born in 1972, Shary Boyle works across diverse media, including sculpture, painting, installation and drawing. She is known for her bold, highly crafted and deeply imaginative explorations of the figure. Boyle thrives on collaboration and mentorship. In her practice, she considers the social history of ceramic figurines, animist mythologies and folk art forms to create a symbolic, feminist and politically charged language that is uniquely her own. Shary Boyle’s work is exhibited and collected internationally, and she represented Canada at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
Credits and curatorial team
An exhibition organized by the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It is curated by Sequoia Miller, PhD, Chief Curator of the Gardiner Museum. The curator in charge of the exhibition at the MMFA is Eunice Bélidor, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Curator of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art (1945 to Today).
Shary Boyle (born in 1972), Cephalophoric Saint, 2018, colour lithograph with opalescent pigment, edition of 25, collaborating printer: Jill Graham, 66 x 50 cm. E. Grace and S. Vella. Photo Imagefoundry
Shary Boyle. Photo Jeff Bierk © 2020