From Mayne Island, B.C., Jeremy Borsos's exhibition, Then Again has found an entirely novel way of exploring history as a creative tool, allowing us to reconsider the parameters of what constitutes history and memory.
For this exhibition he has acquired numerous envelopes with Oakville addresses that range in date from the 1870s to the 1960s. These envelopes were purchased by the artist from stamp-collectors, online from eBay, donated by local citizens, or borrowed from the Oakville Historical Society. During three separate trips to Oakville over two years, Borsos traced the addresses on the envelopes back to the sites to which the letters had originally been sent.
After locating the address, he photographed what was currently on the sites and then assembled and displayed them with the envelope. Often the juxtapositions are quite alarming, as some streets no longer exist or an apartment building has replaced a family dwelling. As guest writer John O'Brian has written in his essay, “Time is irreversible and something is bound to have changed at the site in the space between the instantaneous snap of the camera's shutter, a moment that can never be recaptured, and an audience's viewing of the image produced." One could say that the “art" here could be the moment Borsos returned the envelope to the location where it was intended to go. But in the end, the two images of site and envelope describe a time warp. Our imaginations conjure personal and public histories as we wonder about the lives of senders and recipients of the locale. Borsos's exhibition serves as a link between the present and lost time of the distant past. As the artist says, “The beauty or scholarship we develop to fill this void is not what is visible in these photographs, it is ourselves."
An illustrated catalogue with an essay by Dr. John O'Brian is available at Oakville Galleries or through www.abcartbookscanada.com.
Curated by Marnie Fleming