Andy Fabo: The Weight of Delirium
The works in this exhibition, The Weight of Delirium, were selected from two different bodies of my art of the last decade: Delirious at the Borderlines (2012-13), a series consisting of both drawings and digital prints, and The Weight (2016-17), a collection of more than fifty iterative mixed-media drawings.
It seems appropriate to combine the two for this exhibition because both collections of work rely on metaphor and allegory to portray crisis. With the former it was a personal health crisis, while the latter tries to depict an embodied reaction to the dire sociopolitical forces that have evolved globally in the 21st century.
Since moving to Toronto in 1975, artist, critic, curator, and activist Andy Fabo has influenced the landscape of Canadian visual culture and advanced debates on representation, censorship, and activism. Studs, his 1978 exhibition at A Space Gallery in Toronto, was a landmark for Queer art in Canada. and established him as an artist unafraid to dive into the polemical, and political, both within his art practice, and in the realm of public discourse.
Around this period, Fabo was also a founding member of the renowned ChromaZone collective—curating with textile artist Tim Jocelyn, the celebrated, massive, exhibition-as-department store/installation Chromaliving in a prime retail area of Toronto.
Fabo’s work has been featured in innumerable solo and group exhibitions and publications across Canada, and internationally, including Canada House in London, the Centre Culturel Canadien de Paris, the Art Museum of the Americas (Washington D.C.), Luhring Augustine Gallery (NYC), the prestigious Wexner Centre, and in Berlin, Wales, the UK, the Netherlands and Zurich. Other highlights include the AGO’s recent survey, Tributes and Territories, a duo show at the Power Plant in 1992, and in 2005, a mid-career retrospective at the MOCCA. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, and is part of several survey volumes published by Routledge, and Oxford University Press, among others.
Fabo’s and Michael Balser’s collaborative video, Survival of the Delirious (1988) won numerous international awards and is in several museum collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and MOMA in New York. Many of their works screened across the globe, and were featured in a retrospective at Montreal’s Oboro gallery following Balser’s death in 2002.
In addition to his practice, Fabo remains active as a teacher, guest lecturer, curator, and writer of criticism and exhibition essays. Most notably, Fabo was one of the first Canadian artists to respond to the AIDS pandemic, creating numerous bodies of work that dealt with loss, commemoration, and the body in catastrophic crisis—subjects which he continues to plumb with irresolute determination and vision today.
(Rhonda L. Meier)