Marges coulantes


Ilona Staples


October 21st to November 20th 2010



This exhibition is sponsored by Over the Atlantic Interactive. Our season sponsors are, CBON, la Première Chaîne, Espace musique and Radio-Canada Television | Internet.


Marges coulantes

The term “leaky margins” is used by the scientist Peter Russell to describe how substances pass through the porous membranes of cells. For her part, the artist Ilona Staples uses the term as a metaphor to represent the permeability of our world’s socio-political and economic borders.

Her digital work Global Subway Net represents an imaginary network of 140 subway stations and underground rapid transit systems on our planet. The network is outlined by dots and fine lines; some are close together, some are far apart, according to the concentration of underground services that are present in the area. The extent of this development beneath our feet might feel unsettling.

In another work, Staples shaped the names of the 172 members of the UN out of thousands of red tie wraps that are bended, twisted and tied together in a 130-foot long structure. This work, entitled Ties that Bind, hangs like a huge string of rosary beads and, like a collective prayer, it expresses the importance of this vast union for Earth’s equilibrium.

In her work entitled National Drift, the artist reconfigures Earth’s geography, relocates territories, lakes and natural resources, envelops and redistributes them to accommodate specific needs. Where else on the planet could the Great Lakes be useful?

Bio-box is a labelled box that sits near the door of the gallery. Has it been delivered there, or is it waiting to be picked up? On closer inspection, hand-painted letters provide autobiographical information about the artist’s family, such as the number of their federal immigration file.


Ilona Staples lives and works in Toronto. She studied at Concordia University in Montreal and at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her works have been exhibited across Canada, the United States and Europe. Her project Réseau métro global was supported by a grant from the Toronto Arts Council.

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