Phillip Toledano: When I Was Six

January 14, 2016 – February 27, 2016


Opening reception for the artist:

Thursday, November 12, 7pm

Dina Mitrani Gallery is pleased to present Phillip Toledano: When I Was Six, with an artist talk on Thursday, January 14th at 7pm.  This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.  

When he was six, Toledano’s sister died in an accident. After her death, his parents rarely spoke of her, but she remained a constant presence in his life.  In 2009, after his parents died, Toledano discovered a box full of his sister’s belongings -a secret museum of sorts, every object lovingly placed there by his mother.  In choosing to open the box, he was able to rediscover his sister, while gaining a deeper understanding of his parents, and create this deeply personal work.  

‘This work was a way of getting to know my sister. But it was also a way of getting to know my parents and their relationship with her. It gave me a glimpse into the pain and courage it took to stay together as husband and wife, as mother and father, to give me the beautiful life they gave me. I have no memories of my life after my sister’s death for a few years, other than an obsession with space, planets, and distant universes.  I think that disappearing into those far away places was a way of saving myself.’

The work is shown in two parts. Still life images of childhood toys, family snapshots and memorabilia are illuminated by angular, natural light on black backgrounds.  These almost forensic like photographs reveal the contents of the box and physical evidence of Claudia, her life, and her family. The skyscapes are abstract images of space - reimagined memories of a six year old when he needed saving.