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.
Step into the creative world of Shary Boyle with our Gallery Guides!
Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 2 to 4 p.m., the Museum’s Gallery Guides are on hand in Outside the Palace of Me to enrich your visit with engaging conversation about the exhibition. It’s a wonderful opportunity to deepen your appreciation of the artist’s approach and the works on display!
In the media
L’installation Devant le palais du Moi, de l’artiste Shary Boyle, expose avec brio le fait que nous incarnons tous des rôles.
Le Journal de Montréal
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 Alexandrine Théorêt, Assistant Curator of International Modern and Contemporary Art.
Shary Boyle (born in 1972), The Potter II, 2019, terracotta, porcelain, glazes, gold lustre, 57.8 x 37.5 x 38.5 cm. MMFA, purchase, Suzanne Caouette Bequest, in tribute to Michelle Prévost. Photo John Jones
Shary Boyle (born in 1972), Judy, 2021, wax, electronics, ceramics, mixed media, 195.6 x 91.4 x 71.1 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Patel Brown Gallery. Photo Toni Hafkenscheid
Shary Boyle (born in 1972), Misogyny + Misanthropy, 2018, ink and gouache on paper, 105 x 81 cm. Collection of Elisabeth Preston and Peter Strickland. Photo Imagefoundry
Shary Boyle. Photo Jeff Bierk © 2020
Photo MMFA, Denis Farley