"Ice Fishing in Gimli"
Rob Kovitz, "Ice Fishing in Gimli" (a novel) at Winnipeg’s Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art.
Ice Fishing in Gimli, December 12, 2009 to February 21, 2010, Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
“I’ve never made a dime off my books,” says Winnipeg architect-turned-artist Rob Kovitz. “My projects have always been a luxury, something low-key I did on the side.” Ice Fishing in Gimli is an eight-volume response to Kovitz’ three-year exile in the remote fishing community in Manitoba’s Interlake. The books include original writing, a pastiche of eloquent quotes and evocative imagery, and are available for loan at Winnipeg’s Plug-In Institute. “I could have been on the moon or at the North Pole,” says Kovitz. “When you walk out onto that ice in the middle of the lake, it’s very disorienting.” The artist describes himself as more of a writer than a visual artist and cites Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin as a creative influence. “Maddin’s in the book,” Kovitz says of his epic saga of desire, boredom, madness, failure, the Wandering Jew, weather, murder and esoteric ice fishing techniques. The Gimli period produced a “good madness” — Kovitz gained much from his solitary experience in the stoic Interlake. “It was a remarkable journey. I got this book out of it, didn’t I?” he laughs.