Todd Gronsdahl’s interdisciplinary practice challenges truth, fiction and the construction of historical narratives. Saskatchewan Maritime Museum is an immersive installation, employing irony to highlight the randomness of museum and archive logic. By playing, tampering and reconfiguring archival documentation, Gronsdahl intentionally legitimizes mythologies, loosely retracing residual marks of past events.

Utilizing pragmatic materials, Gronsdahl’s vernacular expresses a prairie folk-art sentiment. The conflation between the art objects, real archival materials and the invented artifacts, evoke a subtle interplay between truth and fiction. A thin veil of distrust and exaggerated conspiracy theory lingers throughout the “museum,” ultimately problematizing the selectivity of written historical knowledge.

Saskatchewan Maritime Museum focuses on three mythological stories conspired from the local surrounding waterways (versus the sea). Gronsdahl proposes specific ahistoricities, chock-full of contradictory evidence suggestive of aquatic adventures. Consequently, it is imbued with skepticism, sarcasm and humour, and ultimately one is left to contemplate the need for the Saskatchewan maritime Museum to even exist.

Leah Taylor

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