It’s almost that time again… The Power Plant‘s annual not-to-be-missed Power Ball takes place Thursday, June 5th, and we couldn’t be more psyched to put the art in party. Some of our favourite contemporary artists – like the amazing and totally unique Jon Rafman from Montreal and CONFETTISYSTEM from New York – will be at the kickass Old/New World-themed fundraiser (along with their work) to help raise money for the gallery by throwing the biggest art bash of the summer. (Get your tickets here.) We caught Gaëtane Verna, the director of The Power Plant, to find out more about Power Ball and her life in the arts.
You were raised in Montreal, studied at the Sorbonne, and worked in Quebec before becoming the first female director of the Power Plant in Toronto. Tell us about your life in the arts.
I have never had a career plan. Moving from Montreal, to Paris, to Lennoxville, to Joliette, and then Toronto, I could never had imagined it even if I tried to plan any of these journeys. I am passionate about the work that I do and the institution that I have the privilege of leading. I very much define myself as a citizen of the world and I feel privileged to be able to work every day in a field that I deeply believe in. I am an advocate for the importance of art and culture in everyone’s life and our responsibility to share the work and insight of artists with the world, right here in Toronto.
What artists did you love/admire most growing up and why?
My relationship with art and artists is a very long journey that is constantly changing as I evolve and learn as much about myself as I do about the world. Growing up, the artists that I looked up to were classical ballet dancers such as Natalia Makarova and classical musicians like Léontyne Price and Jacqueline Du Pré. At that particular time, up until my early twenties, classical music and ballet was all I aspired to do, and it was all encompassing.
What is it about The Power Plant that made you want to be a part of it?
The Power Plant is an unbelievable institution that has, since 1987, contributed to the legacy of contemporary international and Canadian arts in Canada and in the world. Having the privilege of leading a non-collecting institution with a team focused on creating milestone exhibitions with contemporary living artists explains why I wanted to be part of this great institution and contribute to it.
What can we expect from this year’s Power Ball?
Art installations from artists who will transform the gallery space. At Power Ball, you will see and experience an installation created for us by the New York-based collective CONFETTISYSTEM, video work by Toronto’s very own multi-disciplinary artist Christine Davis, an installation by Montreal-based artist Jon Rafman, as well as a performance/environment by Montreal-based Oli Sorenson, and works by the Toronto collective B.Y.O.B. Last but not least, British artist Naomi Kashiwagi will perform during the evening. All of the artists will be present at Power Ball and that is key for us; enabling our guests to interact with the artists while eating succulent food, having drinks and dancing to the tunes of some of Toronto’s most sought after DJs.
What upcoming exhibits at The Power Plant do you think will wow Torontonians and visitors alike?
This summer we will present works by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes. With his work “Sanatorium” – previously presented in New York, Kassel, Germany, and London, UK – Reyes’ installation requires visitors to interact with the work. They are key to activate the work. Without them taking part in “Sanatorium,” we do not have an artwork. We will also have video, photography and sculptures by Portuguese artist Vasco Araujo, as well as a sculpture and video by Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Health, laughter, art and music… that’s four.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it is always on the go and because it is the world in one place.
Will you be heading to Power Ball this year? Comment below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe!