Exhibition YDESSA HENDELES: The Milliner's Daughter

First survey show of the artist-collector's work in Toronto

Canadian-child, 2009 © Ydessa Hendeles The Goethe-Institut is The Power Plant's Arts Partner

Ydessa Hendeles has explored notions of difference and diversity, assembling objects and artefacts to make contemporary fables about the way representation and distortion, appropriation and assimilation can filter group and individual identities. For this first survey of her artistic practice, The Power Plant will display works from the past decade that develop these subjects. Also part of this exhibition are THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW (Berlin, 2012) – including a large automaton, Aero-Car N˚500 (2011) – and Church & State (The Puss in Boots Project) (2008), originally made for Marburg! The Early Bird! (Marburg, 2010). Through the lens of cultural objects and icons, the exhibition conjures a deeply personal storyline about the power dynamics in relations between insiders and outsiders with all the vivid playfulness – and serious intent – of childhood fairy tales.
Ydessa Hendeles worked as a gallerist, collector and curator before she started to create her own works. Beginning in the early 1990s, Hendeles began to incorporate her own artistic projects into her exhibition programme at the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation in Toronto and continued to do so until the gallery closed in 2012, after 25 years and the passing of her mother. Her first solo exhibition in 2012, THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW at Galerie Johann König in Berlin, marks her transition from a curator to a fulltime artist.
Her psychologically charged works have also been exhibited at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2003); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2004); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010); Marburger Kunstverein, Marburg, Germany (2010); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2011); König Galerie, Berlin (2012); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015); Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany (2016); Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2016); and the New Museum, New York (2016).
Ydessa Hendeles is the only child of Jacob and Dorothy Hendeles, both Polish Jews who survived Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp. Like millions of Eastern Europeans, especially Holocaust survivors, they were left without a home to return to after the Second World War ended in 1945. Together with other family members, Jacob and Dorothy settled in Marburg, a relatively intact German city in the American Zone of Occupation, where Jacob established himself in business. The family immigrated to Canada in the spring of 1951 with their two-year-old daughter. By the end of 1951, Canada had accepted 157,687 refugees left stateless by the war.

The Hendeles family settled in Toronto, where Ydessa’s father started a commercial real estate business that would eventually make the family wealthy. As the child of Holocaust survivors, the sense of trauma and loss that Hendeles was brought up around would deeply inform her career as an art collector, curator and artist. As she noted in a 2002 interview with Canadian Art, the knowledge never escaped her that she was “part of a generation that wasn’t supposed to exist.” She now divides her time between studios in Toronto and New York.
JUNE 24 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

The Power Plant
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario
Tuesday – Wednesday 10-5 PM
Thursday 10-8 PM
Friday – Sunday 10-5 PM
Open holiday Mondays