Jason Dodge
Width of a Witch
with CAConrad

Mercer Union
a centre for contemporary art
1286 Bloor Street West

Mercer Union and Kunstverein Toronto are delighted to present a solo exhibition by Jason Dodge with CAConrad titled Width of a Witch.

The exhibition will open with a reading by the American poet CAConrad of MARFA POETRY MACHINE in 36 Things: Width of a Witch, the written dimension of the show published in a new chapbook to accompany the exhibition.

The opening will also mark the launch of two new volumes of poems by Eileen Myles and Roger Reeves, published by Fivehundred Places with the support of Kunstverein Toronto and Mercer Union.

Typically involving small, subtle alterations to existing objects, the work of Berlin-based artist Jason Dodge may appear to be materially minimalistic, but its simplicity often belies a complex artistic process. Imbuing everyday objects with a poetic element through his conceptually-driven gestures dispatching homing pigeons to carry off sentence fragments, for instance, and then displaying the ones that successfully returned—Dodge creates works that function as indexical traces of a larger narrative.

The lengthy titles of Dodge’s works often attest to the significance of process in his art: for instance, a seemingly simple bolt of fabric bears the title In Lubeck, Germany, Mariele Scholtz Wove a Piece of Cloth. She Was Asked to Choose Yarn the Color of Night and Equalling the Distance (12km) From the Earth to Above the Weather (2008)—describing the instructions that the artist gave the fabricator. Others are more elusive, their import revealed only after the viewer has explored the work more closely, as in Your Death, Submarine, Copper Pipes Connected to Water (2009), for which Dodge installed a copper pipe throughout the length of the gallery connected to the building’s water system, giving visitors the ability to flood the space by turning a valve.

Dodge’s work has been exhibited extensively, including in solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Dusseldorf, CAC Vilnius in Lithuania, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. His work has also been included in numerous group shows, including the 2012 Paris Triennale (curated by Okwui Enwezor), the 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012), The Workers at MASS MoCA (2011), Language of Less (Then & Now) at the MCA Chicago (2011), and The Quick and the Dead (curated by Peter Eleey) at the Walker Art Center (2009).

Born on January 1, 1966, CAConrad describes themself as “the child of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for their mother and helping her shoplift.” They are the author of numerous collections of poetry, including ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014); Philip Seymour Hoffman (were you high when you said this?) (Worms Press, 2014); A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics (Wave Books, 2012); The City Real & Imagined (Factory School Press, 2010), with the poet Frank Sherlock; and The Book of Frank (Chax Press, 2009). A 2014 Lannan Fellow, a 2013 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2011 Pew Fellow, they also conducts workshops on (Soma)tic poetry and Ecopoetics.

Mercer Union is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

Special thanks to Ann & Marshall Webb, TYPE Books and Dr. Paul Marks.

View exhibition documentation