Door to Door
(6th edition)
Sandy Plotnikoff and Nathalie Quagliotto

April 29 - May 5, 2013

Curated by Christof Migone

A new series pairing up artists for week-long interventions throughout Mississauga. The starting premise for this itinerant series is to temporally and spatially splinter and dislocate the gallery in order to present work that delivers itself to you. In other words, if you cannot come to the gallery, the gallery will come to you.

Exhibition Statement

To Door, A Verb
Do not knock.(1)
Theodor Adorno

Following two editions of The Projects: Port Credit (the off-site exhibitions in Port Credit, Mississauga in the summers of 2009 and 2010), Door to Door is the Blackwood Gallery’s new series of off-site interventions set to include Mississauga as a whole. Door to Door will consist of ten invited artists creating works to be delivered door to door. Door to Door brings the off-site thrust of the Blackwood's summer programming to its logical extreme: if you cannot come to the gallery, the gallery will come to you. Inspired in part by Lucy Lippard's famous curatorial projects 557,087 and 995,000 whose numbered titles corresponded to the population of the city where the project was being presented (respectively Seattle in 1969 and Vancouver in 1970). Here, the impossible goal is to reach every resident of Mississauga, population 704,000 (according to the highway sign). Needless to say, the goal will not be reached but completion is not the principal purpose, rather it is the staging of one-to-one encounters and exchanges.

The curatorial premise of Door to Door is unabashedly utopic, it engages frontally with the implicit article of faith that art can act as a force of engagement, a conversation trigger, a tool for creative reflection. There is no naive presumption that reception will always be positive, or that we will be welcomed. There is no fetishization of the encounter. As the title suggests, The Projects: Port Credit placed an accent on the proposal or propositional stage of a work (what might or could happen). In other words, the focus was on change, plans for change. Door to Door shifts the question to one of exchange. In his classic ethnographic study, The Gift, Marcel Mauss summarized the practice of gift exchange as one containing "three obligations: to give, to receive, to reciprocate."(2) The set of rules in our case will of course be less rigid and regulated. With this particular frame, the economy that is applied requires no reciprocity, nor even reception. It is the gesture of giving that is exhibited, the rest is beyond our control.

Myriad questions arise as soon as the tangible aspects of realization are considered: if someone answers the door once knocked, is the art shown, heard, given, or performed? Or is the art to be left at the unknocked door. If so, how many objects at each door, or how many objects total? How are the doors selected? What if the gift is refused? These questions are largely alien in a traditional exhibition. The givens of an exhibition have vanished; this is outreach, literally, a reaching out. The choice of dispersal activity becomes integral to the artwork. Questions for the participating artists become: Delivery by car, on foot, by mail? How are the addresses selected? How many and for how long? Is it. a day long dérive or a week of 7am wake up calls? Is an object given or just shown? Is a performance presented? Is it in an upscale neighborhood or a strip mall? Everyone who’s last name starts with P or every blue door? Are you presenting yourself as a Jehovah’s Witness, an encyclopedia peddler or, blatantly and transparently, a contemporary artist? Or is the doorbell rung and you run?

Arising from this adventure are a multitude of ethical and legal questions. We acknowledge them not as hindrances, but as fascinating encapsulations of the societal conditions which regulate exchange. The aim is not to endanger but to astonish, albeit in an intimate manner. It may be the case that deliveries will need to be pre-arranged, but even if the element of surprise or furtiveness has to be removed this roaming exhibition still stands as a unique context through which to produce work and engage with an audience. With Door to Door we are heeding part of Brian O'Doherty's call in the very last sentence of his "The Gallery as a Gesture" essay: "Or the gallery itself could be removed and relocated to another place."(3) Here the gesture is even more radical, it is not longer off-site, but site-less. Or, it could be said that it invokes the gallery site every time that the artist shows up at the door and knocks on the door or rings the bell. A radical curatorial premise perhaps, though, however oddly, one that is simultaneously quaint, even neighborly. An exhibition home delivery service. A cumulation of instant sites. An exhibition of moments. We are dislocating the gallery through a spatial and temporal splintering process. It is here and there, and there, and there, ... Mapping projects by artists do abound. As well, the street is often sought as a venue for it is perceived as a context where the public is at its most random and least contrived. Door to Door belongs to both of these lineages, but investigates the specificity of where public space meets private domicile. The audience is no longer the passersby but the resident, the occupant, the one who answers the door.

Door to Door, an exhibition which knocks on your door and delivers itself to you.

- Christof Migone, Director/Curator, Blackwood Gallery

(1) Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia, trans. E.F.N. Jephcott. London: Verso, 1974, 40 [entry 19]. The entry is titled Do not knock and it proceeds as follows: Do not knock. -Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men. It expels from movements all hesitation, deliberation, civility. It subjects them to the implacable, as it were, ahistorical demands of objects. Thus the ability is lost, for example, to close a door quietly and discreetly, yet firmly. Those of cars and refrigerators have to be slammed, others have the tendency to snap shut by themselves, imposing on those entering the bad manners of not looking behind them, not shielding the interior of the house which receives them. The new human type cannot be properly understood without awareness of what he is continuously exposed to from the -world of things about him, even in his most secret innervations. What does it mean for the subject that there are no more casement windows to open, but only sliding frames to shove, no gentle latches but turnable handles, no forecourt, no doorstep before the street, no wall around the garden? And which driver is not tempted, merely by the power of his engine, to wipe out the vermin of the street, pedestrians, children and cyclists? The movements machines demand of their users already have the violent, hard-hitting, unresting jerkiness of Fascist maltreatment. Not least to blame for the withering of experience is the fact that things, under the law of pure functionality, assume a forn that limits contact with them to mere operation, and tolerates no surplus, either in freedom of conduct or in autonomy of things, which would survive as the core of experience, because it is not consumed by the moment of action.

(2) Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies, trans. W.D. Halls. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990, 39.

(3) Brian O'Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, 107.
Artists' Biograpies & Project Descriptions
Sandy Plotnikoff - Clips Mix (2013)

Riffing on the ubiquitous but often overlooked plastic bread clip, this large edition of custom clips will freely disperse across Mississauga bag tops, laptops, junk drawers, thrift shops, and elsewhere.
Limited supply also available by email:

Sandy Plotnikoff’s multifarious practice includes foil printing, multiples, photography, and collaborative works. His recent projects include Clip Tricks workshop at Struts Gallery (Sackville, NB); Foil Problem at Paul Petro Contemporary Art (Toronto, ON); and Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, ON). He gratefully acknowledges support from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts. Plotnikoff studied at NSCAD (BFA ‘97), lives in Toronto.

Nathalie Quagliotto - Gallery Intervention (2013)

Three yellow neon signs that read the word "GALLERY" and are placed in close-proximity of one another in the side entrance of an arena. By placing commercial gallery signage in a completely different environment of where it would normally be found, the project creates a type of pop-up gallery. The gallery context is transformed into a site-specific intervention which pushes the public who possibly have little experience with art to think about what an artwork, an exhibition, and a gallery could be.

Location: Streetstville Arena – Vic Johnston Community Centre:

Nathalie Quagliotto (Montreal Quebec 1984) is a Toronto based conceptual artist. She holds a MFA from the University of Waterloo from 2009 and a BFA from Concordia University from 2007. In 2008, she apprenticed under Turner Prize winning conceptual artist Martin Creed in London, England. She has shown nationally and internationally.  Her work is in various private and public collections in North America, such as the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Michigan and Galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal, Quebec. She has been featured in Sculpture and installation art magazines, such as "ESPACE sculpture" and is a grant recipient from the Toronto Arts Council as well as the Ontario Arts Council of Canada. This summer she will show work at the Museum of Design in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Project Images

Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Streetsville Arena.

Related Projects

Door to Door (1st edition)
Germaine Koh & Gordon Hicks and Camilla Singh
May 30 - June 5, 2011

Door to Door (2nd edition)
Alexander Irving and Micah Lexier
September 26 - October 2, 2011

Door to Door (3rd edition)
Karen Kraven and John Marriott
Monday December 12 - Sunday December 18, 2011

Door to Door (4th edition)
Adam David Brown and Nancy Nowacek
September 24 - 30, 2013

Door to Door (5th edition)
Sandy Plotnikoff and Nathalie Quagliotto
April 29 - May 5, 2013