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AGO presents renowned Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller

Artist duo invites visitors to experience seven rooms of sound and video in addition to Cardiff’s acclaimed Forty-Part Motet

Toronto—Internationally celebrated artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller make their highly anticipated return to Toronto this spring with Lost in the Memory Palace, a selection of seven installations incorporating complex soundtracks, videos, objects and images that have never before been shown together in Canada. The exhibition, opening on April 6, 2013, and running to Aug. 18, 2013, will include the debut of a new as-yet-untitled work specially created by the duo for the AGO, as yet untitled.

Co-curated by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s new curator of modern and contemporary art, and Bruce Grenville, senior curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the exhibition takes its name from an ancient memorization tool that associates ideas with specific physical locations. According to the “memory palace method,” a person can walk through these locations in the mind to recollect facts and memories.

Filling level four of the AGO’s David and Vivian Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, the exhibition is arranged like a traditional house with rooms opening up into other rooms. Visitors are invited to roam through the spaces, each one a new environment featuring a distinct work. Included in the exhibition are early works Dark Pool (1995) and The Muriel Lake Incident (1999), as well as more recent works Opera for a Small Room (2005) and the thundering Storm Room (2009).

“When you enter these spaces and are confronted by soundtracks, images, moving images and objects, you understand the physical environments to be works of art themselves. As you engage with the artworks, you become a true participant,” said Scott. “As a result, these installations are deeply moving.”

An accompanying iPad app, featuring exhibition content and essays co-created by the AGO and the Vancouver Art Gallery, will be available for purchase from iTunes and released concurrently with the exhibition’s launch.

"It's fitting that this immersive and experimental publication has been conceived and developed for an exhibition,” said Bruce Grenville, senior curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “These two great artists have done so much to bring true interdisciplinarity and multi-modal production to contemporary art today."

Toronto is the first stop on the exhibition’s tour; after closing at the AGO it will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego in September 2013 before opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery in June 2014.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO will install Janet Cardiff’s celebrated soundscape Forty-Part Motet (2001) in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre. Featuring 40 mounted loud speakers that define a round space, each speaker emits a separately recorded voice singing Thomas Tallis’s 1573 choral composition Spem in Alium. The arrangement of speakers gives participants the opportunity to explore choral music as they would a sculpture, by listening to it in parts and as a whole. Hailed by the New York Times as “deceptively simple, matter-of-fact in its presentation – and so sublime in its effect,” the piece is on special loan to the AGO from New York’s Museum of Modern Art.


Janet Cardiff (b.1957) began collaborating with fellow Canadian artist and partner George Bures Miller (b.1960) in 1995. Representing Canada at the 49thVenice Biennale with the piece Paradise Institute (2001), Cardiff and Miller won La Biennale di Venezia Special Award and the Benesse Prize, which recognizes artists who break new artistic ground with an experimental and pioneering spirit. Their work has been shown in numerous venues worldwide and they are now recognized among the foremost artists of their generation. Currently they reside in Grindrod, B.C.

AGO Members are invited to an exclusive preview of Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller on April 5, 2013. More information on the benefits of AGO Membership can be found at

Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Vancouver Art Gallery.


Meet the Artists: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
April 3, 2013 
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Jackman Hall
Art Gallery of Ontario
Public $12 | Members $10 | Students $8

In this evening talk renowned artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller share insights into their work and collaborative practice. Visit for tickets.

Members Preview
April 5, 2013
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Art Gallery of Ontario

Members have the chance to be among the first to experience the immersive environments of the Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Join us April 5, 2013, for an exclusive sneak peek before the public opening on April. 6.

Public Opening Party
April 5, 2013
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Walker Court
Art Gallery of Ontario 

Artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller join AGO members and visitors to celebrate the opening of Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller.


With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

March 16–June16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

Aug. 17–Oct. 27, 2013: Ai Weiwei: According to What?

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For images and more information on Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller at the AGO, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications

416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Laura Banks; News Officer, AGO Communications

416-979-6660, ext. 504,

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364,


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