Derek Sullivan: The Missing Novella

Over the past fifteen years, Toronto-based artist Derek Sullivan has developed a multi-faceted art practice that builds on histories of both conceptualism and modernist art and design. Working across media such as drawing, sculpture and book production, he wittily synthesizes and expands on forms from art history, literature, popular culture, and other realms.

Books and the act of reading have always been central to Sullivan’s work. Where he has frequently drawn on the book’s mutable form, The Missing Novella sees the artist introduce literary elements such as traces of plots and allusions to characters. Here, Sullivan has staged Gairloch estate—formerly a private home—as a stylized country house inspired by well-known fictional settings, such as E.M. Forster’s Howards End and Belle Ombre, the home of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley.

Featuring installations of books, screens and furniture sculptures; wall drawing; and a selection of works evoking decorative mirrors from his ongoing Poster Drawing series, Sullivan wryly imagines Gairloch estate as the scene of oblique, refracted narratives of class conflict, romance, family melodrama, and murder.














Installation shots by Toni Hafkenscheid.


Toronto Star