Sorel Etrog & Marshall McLuhan


Sorel Etrog Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto

April 27 – September 29, 2013

Sorel Etrog is a career-spanning exhibition that will cast the artist in a new light in his adopted hometown of fifty-four years. It will include his archetypal sculptures as well as drawings, paintings, book illustrations and prints from the AGO’s collection and private collections. One of the highlights, and one of Etrog’s pivotal works, will be his rarely seen film, Spiral. This meditation on the human condition, from birth to death, will be a catalyst for renewed reflection on the accomplishments of one of Canada’s most diverse and challenging artists.

More on the artist: Sorel Etrog is best known for his abstracted figurative sculpture. The statue he created for the Canadian Film Award in 1968 is recognizable to many Canadians as theGenie, and his massive Sun Life on the northeast corner of King Street and University Avenue is a landmark for many Torontonians. However, his lesser-known collaborations with Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco and Marshall McLuhan convey the profoundly human – and humane – aspects of an artist whose thoughts encompass sculptural and metaphorical considerations of connection, passage, relationship and continuity. 

Sketch of McLuhan by Sorel Etrog

Collaboration with Marshall McLuhan on the Film Spiral (1975): Of his many collaborations, the most acclaimed are his book illustrations for Eugene Ionesco and Samuel Beckett in the late 1960s. Sorel Etrog and Marshall McLuhan collaborated on the publication Spiral which was drawn from Etrog’s film of the same title which was broadcast on CBC television in 1975.

Images From the Film Spiral by Sorel Etrog & Marshall McLuhan: Spiral is a book of stills from a silent film first presented on the C.B.C. in 1975. Marshall McLuhan screened the film at his Centre of Culture and Technology and suggested that Etrog select stills from the film so that he could provide an annotation to those images – a free form text of quotations from various writers – as well as a commentary. 

Film by Etrog, Text by McLuhan

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