Housekeeping by Lezli Rubin-Kunda (EW)

By Elaine Wong

On Harbord Street just west of Spadina, there is a small gallery that is housing another portion of the festival: a screening of some of Lezli Rubin-Kunda‘s recent video works. The screening contains three separate videos, of which two (Down to Earth and A Walk with Mask, Streamers and Sardine Cans) are documentations of live performances, while the third (Housekeeping) is collection of video poems musing on the theme of Rubin-Kunda’s relationship to her home.

Housekeeping is a series of celebrations of and challenges to the ideas of home, security and inhabitance, in which the mundane meets the sublime in touchingly poetic vignettes that are sculpted from the very fabric of Rubin-Kunda’s house.

A very short piece entitled reminder depicts the artist leaning over from the roof of her house, laying out post-it notes onto the outer wall. And while the artist’s commentary is about the constant, incessant presence of everyday life and its million and one things to do, she is able to transform the wall of her house into a mosaic of yellow paper against whitewash.

a backyard pilgrimage is another short that turns the mundane into the marvelous as Rubin-Kunda traverses the damp earth and foliage of her backyard, able only to walk on grapefruits she has scattered across the ground. Playing on notions of children’s games and the need for protection from the outside world, she tries to maintain her precarious balance while at the same time sacrificing the citrus to her steps.

Perhaps the most bittersweet of the vignettes, a happy homemaker counts her blessings shows Rubin-Kunda writing on a wall with her fingers and mud from the yard. She writes all those things in life that she loves. Her family, her home, the way the moonlight shines into her bathroom, eating breakfast on the patio, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette on the roof: the complexly simple things that make life wonderful. Yet after this positive recounting, the artists washes down the wall, and the words blur and fade, leaving only their memory behind. And yet life and happiness, while transient, are both able to linger despite the things that try to erode them.

Tomorrow is the last day Lezli Rubin-Kunda’s work will be on display at the Fleishman Gallery at WonderWorks, so do stop by if you have the time. The screening is accompanied by still photographs and print collections of the artist’s work.

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