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U of T Art Museum exhibit serves as a ‘State of the Nation on sleep’: Globe and Mail

Old Woman in Bed, a sculpture by Ron Mueck on display at the Art Museum (photo by Romi Levine)

CEOs who start their day at 3:30 a.m. and people with precarious jobs who work at all hours of the night are shifting the way we think about sleep.

The art world has something to say about that, writes Chris Hampton for The Globe and Mail, referring to Figures of Sleep, the University of Toronto Art Museum’s current exhibit.

Figures of Sleep arrives as a new awareness around self-care has many better attuned to – and worried about – the maintenance of our physical and mental well-being,” writes Hampton.

The exhibit brings together artists from Canada and around the world to explore the ideas of sleep in the context of our highly globalized world.

It’s an act that can be political and can even be a form of protest, says Hampton.

Read about the exhibit and U of T's all-night art party

Curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan, Figures of Sleep features a video by Toronto artist Jon Sasaki, where a dancer emulates poses in photos of endurance dance marathons during the Depression era. It’s an exploration of exhaustion and failure, says Hampton.

“The gloomy and vogueish workplace ethos comes to mind: Do more with less,” he says.

Hampton is most affected by a video based on a performance piece by Taiwanese-American artist Tehching Hsieh, who punched a time clock every hour for a whole year.

“The hyperbolic vision of shift work appears prophetic now that we're never truly ‘off the clock’ … as work stress permanently occupies some chamber of our mental engine, and as the e-mails roll steadily in right through the devil's hour and on to the morning alarm,” he says. 

Read the article in the Globe and Mail