L'esprit de L'escalier
Every exit is an entrance.
During a social dinner, a remark was made to the French philosopher Denis Diderot which left him speechless at the time. As he explains, "l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier" or, in English, "a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument leveled against him, loses his head and can only think clearly again once he has reached the bottom of the stairs." The term L'esprit de l'escalier was coined for this situation. Thinking of the perfect reply, only too late.
L'esprit de l'escalier is a new audio installation by CCC. The work uses the premise of a stairwell moment to examine the relationship between ideas of death, sleep, loss and preservation—all the words you wish you’d said and all the thoughts you wish you’d documented. Based on six short essays written, recorded and produced by CCC and voiced by Abigail Whitney and Stella Isaac, the audio piece reworks these texts into a discordant array of thoughts that roam from one topic to the next, attempting to regain their focus.
L’esprit de l’escalier was developed in conjunction with the Koffler Gallery exhibition Nicole Collins: Furthest Boundless. L’esprit de l’escalier contains quotes from works by Theodor Adorno, Paul Auster, James Baldwin, Roland Barthes, John Berger, Anne Carson, Lars Bang Larsen, and Anne Michaels. Music is from the Free Music Archive.
CCC, Abigail Whitney, Stella Isaac
Production: Letticia Cosbert Miller
L'esprit de l'escalier Publication
Developed in conjunction with L'esprit de l'escalier this inaugural Koffler.Digital publication is a collection of essays, interviews and visual art that explores the many ways we cope with and make sense of death. Download or flip through our digital edition below.
Artists: Erika DeFreitas, CCC
Aaditya Aggarwal, Nicole Collins, Mona Filip, C. Jonasson, Anya Moryoussef, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Patricia Ritacca, Eric Beck Rubin
Editor: Letticia Cosbert Miller
Developed in conjunction with L'esprit de l'escalier and the Koffler Gallery's winter exhibition (Nicole Collins: Furthest Boundless), the inaugural Koffler.Digital publication is a collection of essays, interviews and visual art that explores the many ways we cope with, and make sense of death. Featured artists and writers include:
Eric Beck Rubin
is the programming coordinator at Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. He was the 2016 Online Editorial Intern at Canadian Art and the Sid Adilman Mentee at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and Screen Daily, an industry news publication. Aaditya has also contributed writing to online publications like The New Inquiry, The Review and The Ethnic Aisle.
CCC is a collaborative project founded by Angela Shackel and Braden Labonte in 2013. The project operates as a shifting collection of artists, writers, performers and audio producers. The collective likes to be described as a hodgepodge of curious individuals, who work together to create temporary installations and uncanny experiences, that exist in the world for a few moments - until they don’t anymore. Recent installations include Narrative Structure part of the Bonavista Biennale (Bonavista, NFLD), The Sublime in Quotations at YYZ (Toronto, On), Hold On Hold On Some Things Last Forever at Katzman Contemporary (Toronto, On) and at Forest City Gallery (London, On). Recent audio pieces include an adaptation of Anne Carson’s Antigonick for McSweeney’s podcast, The Organist, which airs on KCRW.
Nicole Collins has exhibited extensively since 1994, including solo exhibitions at The University of Waterloo Art Gallery (2013), The Art Gallery of Ontario (2013) and The Embassy of Canada in Tokyo (2001) and group exhibitions in Toronto, Hamilton, St. Johns, New York, Miami, London and Zurich. Her work has been featured online and in magazines, newspapers and books including the major survey Abstract Painting in Canada (Roald Nasgaard), the 3rd edition of A Concise History of Canadian Painting (Dennis Reid), Carte Blanche, Volume 2: Painting, and The Donovan Collection Catalogue. Collins is an Assistant Professor in the Drawing & Painting program at the Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCADU) and she lives in Toronto with her husband artist Michael Davidson and their daughter. Collins’ work is represented by General Hardware Contemporary in Toronto.
Mona Filip is the Director/Curator of the Koffler Gallery at the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Toronto. Originally from Bucharest, Romania, Filip received her BFA from the Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC, and her MFA from SUNY at Buffalo.
C. Jonasson is the Executive Director of the Koffler Centre of the Arts.
is an architect and educator who has published several literary non-fiction essays on the nature and paradoxes of artifice. She runs a design practice in Toronto and teaches studio at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
Dainesha Nugent Palache is a Toronto based artist, writer, curator, and recent graduate of OCAD University. Working primarily in photography and video, often employing the use of perfomativity, her practice is centred around themes of otherness, identity and representation in relation to both femininity and the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. Through the use of satire, pastiche and colour, Dainesha’s work is aesthetically tantalizing enough to pull viewers in, so that they may then consider the deeper layered complexities which exist within her work. All in all, it is Dainesha’s intent to provide documentation and commentary on twenty-first-century realities through visual narratives, for the sake of posterity.
Patricia Ritacca is a Toronto-based curator and arts professional. Patricia holds an MA in Contemporary Art History & Theory from the University of Toronto, and is the Public Engagement Coordinator at the Koffler Gallery and a social practice curator with the collective Aisle 4. Curatorial projects include: On the Table, a series of politically-engaged artist multiples for the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (2017), Gallery Galleria, a public exhibition of site-specific performances and installations in Toronto’s Galleria Shopping Centre (2016), and co-curation of the Art of the Danforth Festival (2014). She has curated exhibitions for OCADU, and has assisted in the curation and programming of exhibitions for the City of Toronto and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Eric Beck Rubin
Eric Beck Rubin is a cultural historian who writes on architecture, literature, and psychology. School of Velocity is his first novel and he is currently at work on a second: a family saga spanning pre-World War II Germany to present-day Los Angeles and Western Canada.