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Breaking and Entering: The House Cut, Spliced and Haunted is a group exhibition curated by Susan Edelstein running from January 28 to February 18, 2011 in the Artlab Gallery of the Department of Visual Arts and the University of Western Ontario.

It will consider how the house might be imagined otherwise through illusions, mirrors, distortions of orientation and scale, including cutaways and hauntings of various kinds from the phantasmagoric to the cinematic. Particular attention will be paid to sensorial affect typically generated by architectural structures, renderings, models and filmic projections, which are deliberately manipulated by four Canadian artists to alter everyday notions of time and space and call into question our existing criteria for establishing reliable material and historical evidence. The point of the exhibition is to draw together recent work by Heather Benning, Wyn Geleynse, Iris Häussler and David Hoffos that interrogates the anchoring points and home truths that are usually associated with domestic dwellings.

By connecting artists who previously haven’t been shown together, the exhibition will be the catalyst for a number of events: a symposium, a film series, high school outreach visits and a book of critical essays. The symposium (February 3 & 4, 2011) will be keynoted by James Putnam, a leading curator, who organizes exhibitions for the Freud Museum in London, England. It will also feature speakers discussing the artwork and issues in the exhibition from various interdisciplinary perspectives including architecture and architectural history, craft history, literature, paracinema, film studies, art history, visual culture and museum studies.


A symposium accompanying the exhibition will be held on February 3 and 4, see downloadable program.


For further information about this project, please contact:

Susan Edelstein, Artlab Director
Professor Bridget Elliott, PhD, Graduate Chair


Heather Benning

Heather Benning was born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan in 1980 and now lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. She completed a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2004, and a Masters of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in 2009. Between her degrees Benning returned to Saskatchewan where she completed several large-scale, site-specific installations. She has had numerous solo and group shows throughout Canada and abroad. Heather’s work has been reviewed in Canadian Art magazine, Spring 2005; Sculpture magazine, Spring 2008; Galleries West 2009; and Espace Winter 2009/2010.


Wyn Geleynse

Wyn Geleynse is considered a pioneer in multimedia artistic practices in Canada, with a career in film and video spanning nearly three decades. He emigrated from Rotterdam to London, ON, with his parents in 1953. Growing up in London at a time when the so-called “London regional school” was burgeoning – a vernacular art movement that thrived in the city through the 1970s and 1980s – had a direct impact on Geleynse’s development as an artist, who cites London-based artists Greg Curnoe (deceased) and Murray Favro as major influences. Geleynse’s first artistic efforts were in printmaking, then painting; he studied lithography under Helmut Becker in 1972. In 1979, Geleynse embarked on an entirely new artistic direction which combined an interest in 3D model-making with the 2D qualities of photography. Since 1981, the artist has been integrating film into this process, creating installation-based works in which short films loops have been projected against a host of fabricated items: a large-scale model airplane, bedroom furniture, framed photographs, and other elements emblematic of various themes including childhood, domesticity, selfhood, and the boundaries between public and private. Of late, the artist’s multimedia practice has begun using digital editing techniques, and it has always applied the invention of custom film loopers, viewfinders and other objects to mediate the viewer’s reception of the image. Geleynse often uses biographical footage and source materials from childhood, references that conjure the psychological spaces of memory – real and imagined, collective and individual – and play off the nostalgic response that is often associated with photographs and films, especially those of family and friends. As his projections adapts to their personal and intimate surroundings, Geleynse’s works subvert a straightforward reception of the filmic image, forcing reconciliation with the existential power of cinematic conventions in ‘framing’ the boundaries of subjective experience.


•Jonathan Shaughnessy, Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, Vol.51, 2006 Pg. 192.


Iris Häussler

Iris Häussler is a conceptual- and installation art artist of German origin. She lives in Toronto, Canada. Many of Häussler's works are detailed, hyperrealistic installations that can be decoded as narratives. Recurring topics in her work include social origins, such as family ties /relationships, and physical origins, such as biographies or emigration.
Häussler studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts under Heribert Sturm with a focus on sculpture and has shown widely throughout Europe before her move to Toronto in 2001. Recognitions received include a scholarship of the German National Merit Foundation, the Karl-Hofer Prize of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts and a Kunstfonds Fellowship. Besides sculptural work and sketches, Häussler is currently best known for her immersive installations. With these installations, she creates "synthetic memories" by presenting the living situations of fictitious protagonists who have arranged their lives somewhere between obsession and art.


David Hoffos

In 1994, David Hoffos received a BFA with distinction from the University of Lethbridge. Since 1992 Hoffos has maintained an active exhibition schedule – with over 30 solo exhibitions, including Catastrophe, 1998 (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Or Gallery, Vancouver; and Blackwood Gallery, Mississauga) and Another City, 1999-2002 (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Trépanier Baer, Calgary; Joao Graça, Lisbon; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and Museé des Beaux-Arts, Montréal). In 2003 Hoffos launched the first phase of Scenes from the House Dream, a five-year series of linked installations. His single-channel video/installation work has been shown in festivals in over twenty countries, and he recently represented Canada at the 48th Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany. Hoffos has received awards including 2nd place in the inaugural Sobey Art Award, December 2002; the 2004 York Wilson Endowment Award; Images Grand Prize,2007; and a Long-Term Visual Arts Project Grant, 2008.

“Scenes from the House Dream”, is a series of miniature dioramas and life-sized cut-outs layered with ethereal projections that David Hoffos began in 2003 and completed in 2008. The House Dream, simply put, is that recurring, nocturnal vision of a place so many of us visit while sleeping, but can’t quite locate in wakefulness. Here it also becomes a portal into the inner workings of Hoffos’ mind — which, by his own admission, can be a dark place in more ways than one”.

The House Dream exhibit was initially shown in Hoffos’ hometown of Lethbridge, Alberta, before travelling to the National Gallery of Canada. From there the exhibit toured to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then on to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, where it will remain until December 2010. For the exhibition, Breaking and Entering: The House Cut, Spliced and Haunted the artist genourously allowed curator Susan Edelstein to borrow specific works from the national tour, “Scenes from the House Dream”, which will continue to tour again in the fall of 2011.

David Hoffos lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is represented by Trépanier Baer, Calgary.