Artists Anjuli Rahaman and Humboldt Magnussen expand on their upcoming exhibition at the Gladstone Art Hut, ‘Crash Burn Heal.’ The exhibition explores our relationship to self care in a city that prioritizes productivity and envelops the space, reimagining and repurposing materials conventionally used for self-care. We talked to Anjuli and Humboldt about their inspiration for the exhibit and a bit more of what we can expect in the next week at the Art Hut.
Can you tell us about how the idea for Crash Burn Heal came to be?
We were both independently making work about self care. When there was a call, we took this as an opportunity to exhibit together for the first time. As artists and cultural workers, self-care has been a topic of conversation in our respective work and social circles. We both struggle with taking proper physical and emotional care of ourselves (in our own ways) so this exhibition evolved very organically.
Why do you think it is that people are unable to integrate these comforts and self care into their day to day life?
The cost of living in this city makes it so that most young people need to find multiple sources of income – whether it’s to pay off student debt, put down a payment on property or to support loved ones. Self-care rituals are often inaccessible luxuries, where you spend $100+ on a massage. Taking care of oneself is definitely seen as a low-priority unless you have the money to do so.
Do you think it diminishes the impact of these practices if we segment them into specific times and spaces?
Absolutely. We tend to stockpile our anxieties and expect them to be resolved in one sitting through Band-Aid solutions. Some people compulsively use dating apps like Tinder or Grindr to find a nightly release; some people think that buying a SAD lamp will resolve their seasonal depression. We are constantly seeking easy solutions for deeper-rooted issues. In the end, it’s important to create a daily habit of self-care that doesn’t necessarily involve spending money. Breathe. Be mindful. Take time.
Has living in Toronto and its focus on productivity and output informed your work at all?
The focus on productivity is glaringly clear: housing prices have exploded in the past ten years. Living downtown means that you pay a premium for any goods or services.
Toronto is also well-known globally as an unfriendly city, making social isolation a very real issue. We are torn between being productive, successful, well-balanced go-getters, and being messy, emotional, interesting people!
What do you want participants to take away from the exhibition?
Anjuli’s work is decidedly neutral in appearance to drive the focus to physiological sensation. The line between self-care and self-indulgence has always been rather blurry, and she blurs that line further with work that feels good, or hurts, or both. Visually impaired individuals will benefit from her work just the same and she hopes that her work reaches a wide variety of individuals.
Humboldt’s work highlights the need for playfulness and creativity when engaging in self-care. His whimsical prototypes for Seasonal Affective Disorder diverge from the stark, clinical models commercially available. He is interested in subverting materials traditionally used in self-care, such as yoga mats and self-massagers, to encourage a conversation surrounding healing practices.
Check out “Crash Burn Heal” on at the Gladstone Art Hut–1181 Queen Street W.
March 22nd – March 26th, 2017
Friday, March 24th, 7-10pm
Learn more here!