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Derek Sullivan’s installation view of Albatross Omnibus The Power Plant, 2011, 52 artists’ books; ladders, dimensions variable, 2011.

Toni Hafkenscheid

There's a lot of stuff, much of it old, much of it on the floor, at the showcase of works by the five finalists for this year's big-bucks Sobey Art Award at Toronto's Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.

Indeed, the title of one of the projects – The Burden of Objects by Montreal's Raphaelle de Groot – could easily serve as the rubric for the entire exhibition, which opens Wednesday and runs through Dec. 30.

Marking the Sobey's 10th anniversary, the presentation, curated by Nova Scotia's Sarah Fillmore, is remarkably coherent in terms of tone and content. Remarkable because each of the finalists is from a different part of the country (Gareth Moore's from B.C.; Jason de Haan's an Albertan; Eleanor King's a Haligonian and Derek Sullivan hails from Toronto) and each pursues a variety of practices including installation, drawing, video, sculpture, photography and collage but not, it seems, painting. At least not here.

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All the finalists are in their 30s – a reflection of the Sobey's mandate of honouring Canadians contemporary artists under 40. The winner, to be named Nov. 16, will receive $50,000, the runners-up $10,000 each.

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