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David Cronenberg: Evolution

Curated By Cowan, Noah; Handling, Piers
Designed By Reich + Petch
Organized By TIFF

TIFF's first major original exhibition, David Cronenberg: Evolution, parallels David Cronenberg's evolution as a filmmaker with his longstanding fascination with the possibilities and perils of human evolution itself. Curated by TIFF Director & CEO Piers Handling and former Artistic Director Noah Cowan, and divided into three major sections that provide a loosely chronological overview of Cronenberg's career, the exhibition traces the development of the director's evolutionary themes across his filmography through more than 300 original artifacts, visionary designs, and rare and unseen footage.

Section 1: Who is my creator?

The first section of the exhibition examines Cronenberg's early films – from the early short, Stereo to his major breakthrough, Videodrome – and emphasizes his protagonists' searches for father figures as they are confronted by new, often terrifying evolutionary possibilities. The section also examines how this patriarchal search for mastery is accompanied by a corresponding loss of control over subjects' bodies and sexual impulses, and the sociopolitical resonance of Cronenberg's exploration of issues like virology and reproductive rights.

Section 2: Who am I?

Covering Cronenberg's "middle period," from, Videodrome to eXistenZ, this section examines how Cronenberg's characters extend their renegade evolutionary experiments to their own bodies and selves, whether via science and technology, drugs, art, or sex.

A special space devoted to Naked Lunch traces Cronenberg's affinities for other important twentieth-century thinkers — among them, naturally, William S. Burroughs.

Section 3: Who are we?

Beginning with Spider and coming up to the present with Cosmopolis, this third section sees Cronenberg's protagonists move beyond their private odysseys and into the social world.

At the exhibition exit, a screening room projects Cronenberg's chilling, metacritical autobiographical shorts, reflecting the artist's anxieties about evolution, mortality, and his own artistic identity.

Photography by Tom Arban


Exhibition Tour

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Toronto, Canada
01 November 2013 - 19 January 2014

EYE Film Institute
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
22 June 2014 - 14 September 2014

Puccinni Museum
Corte San Lorenzo, 9, Lucca, Italy
14 February 2015 - 03 May 2015

Fondazione Ragghianti
Lucca, Italy
15 February 2015 - 03 May 2015

House at the Stone Bell
Bubenská 1 Praha 7, 170 00
19 February 2016 - 17 July 2016

Centre for Contemporary Art
Camerimage Festival Office Fundacja Tumult, Rynek Nowomiejski 28, 87-100 Torun, Poland
12 November 2016 - 26 March 2017

Exhibition Contents