The Flight of the Medici Mamluk
January 23 to April 19, 2015
Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new commission at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station by Canadian artist Shannon Bool. Originally from Vancouver Island, she attended Emily Carr University before studying in New York, Frankfurt and moving to Berlin.
Bool typically references a wide variety of historical and monumental decorative objects in her work, from Michelangelo’s David to the ornamentation on Etruscan tombs. While the Tuscan themes in recent projects specifically developed during her 2013 residency at the Villa Romana in Florence, her reinterpretation of these objects is characteristic of her practice in commenting on the role of decorative arts within art history, as well as on the change in meaning that occurs through the replication and alteration of significant and well known items.
For the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Bool has worked with a photographer to document the 16th Century Egyptian Medici Mamluk carpet, recently rediscovered stored in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy. Mamluk style carpets figured significantly in Mediterranean commerce, appearing in Venetian paintings of this time, and are characterized by a central medallion surrounded by a variety of smaller geometric motifs, forming a kaleidoscopic appearance, the palette limited to red, blue, green and yellow tones. In many such carpets the vast and complex patterns suggest notions of eternity and evoke cosmic associations with Buddhist thought. While undoubtedly they should not be read as some form of direct mapping of philosophical intent, the designs themselves may be influenced by such ideas from central Asia and also reflect patterns in Moorish architecture which connect to similar philosophical readings of mathematical logic and infinity.
By combining patterns from and with historical vernacular objects, Bool’s interventions play with the mechanical reproduction of geometric sources and iconography. In previous work taking impetus from floor surfaces, Bool made Casino Runner (Aztec Inn) by blowing up a segment of a cheap wall-to-wall carpet encountered at a Las Vegas casino hotel. The original carpet was laden with random appropriations from ancient Aztec culture and Anatolian ornaments, which the artist underlined in having her version hand woven by Turkish weavers. The casino itself is a throwback to the iconic Art Deco monument, the Aztec Hotel that still operates in Monrovia, California. American Art Deco used the powerful geometry of ancient Mexican civilizations to break from European aesthetic traditions. Bool’s carpet, exquisitely hand-knotted by traditional village weavers in Anatolia, Turkey, heightens – even fetishizes – the production values combining the sublime and hysterical experience of entering a casino with the distinctly Eastern reading of a Western sensibility.
Here, Bool has painstakingly pieced together images of the Mamluk carpet for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, itself unusual due to its gigantic size and pristine condition, to reproduce the whole carpet at almost exact scale across the glass façade of the building. Amazing in its detail, intricacy and partial signs of use, the image records literally and metaphorically both the patterns and passages of time, in much the same way as the busy station is itself an embodiment of a space of people passing through. Suspended in the everyday space of the station and tilted as if afloat, the work shows some of the mathematical and geometrical sensibilities that are seldom acknowledged but directly influenced renaissance thought.
This will be the first new commission by Bool with the Contemporary Art Gallery during 2015, a second project to evolve for late spring.
Presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.
Shannon Bool lives and works in Berlin. Solo exhibitions include: The Fourth Wall Through the Third Eye, Galerie Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf; Walk Like an Etruscan, Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto (2013); The Inverted Harem II, Bonner Kunstverein (2011); CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, France; The Inverted Harem, GAK-Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2010); RMIT Project Space, Melbourne, Australia (2008). Group exhibitions include MMK2 Boom She Boom, Works from the MMK Collection, Frankfurt; The Klöntal Triennale, Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2014); Soft Pictures, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaugengo, Turin; Painting Forever!, KW, Berlin; Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto (2013); the Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2012); 7×14, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Tactical Support, Gallery Tracy Williams, New York; Rock Opera, CACP Museum of Contemporary Art, Bordeaux (2009); Drawing on Sculpture: Graphic Interventions on the Photographic Surface, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2007); Make Your Move, Projects Arts Centre, Dublin; Spiralen der Erinnerung, Kunstverein in Hamburg; Carbonic Anhydride, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin (2006). Work is held in the collections of Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum Fur Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, Berlin; MMK Museum fur Modern Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; Lenbachhaus, Munich, and the Saatchi Collection, London. She is represented by Kadel Willborn Gallery in Düsseldorf and Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto.MORE
Australian artist de Souza investigates the politics of space informed through a formal training in architecture combined with her experiences such as squatting in Redfern, Sydney. De Souza’s work emphasises participation and reciprocity, and often involves the process of learning new skills and fostering relationships to create site and situation-specific projects. For over ten years she has self-published her hand-bound books and ‘zines under the name All Thumbs Press.
In Vancouver, De Souza will develop a series of community based workshops throughout 2015-16 engaging participants in a critical dialogue regarding local food production. De Souza is working closely with various local urban farmers, food security activists and community members to explore the food politics within the city as both evidence of and a metaphor for urban displacement through gentrification. Continuing this research de Souza will host a public picnic in April.
In 2013, de Souza developed projects for the 5th Auckland Triennial, 15th Jakarta Biennale and the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. More recently, at the Delfina Foundation, London, she hosted a series of picnics held inside an inflatable tent installation designed to fit within the gallery space. Notionally “traditional” English food such as cucumber sandwiches, Cornish pasties and Ploughman’s Lunches were made linking to specific cultural histories as a way to discuss class, privilege, space and colonialism. As picnickers ate and spoke, de Souza mapped the discussion on the floor creating a giant cartography of the conversation. Also in 2014 she completed a residency with KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia working closely with community organizers and residents of Kampung Ratmakan to create an inflatable ghost house and a film featuring drawings by local children made during a ghost story workshop. Their local government had announced a major development plan affecting the Ratmakan area and the squatters residing there started to be displaced. The area is built on a graveyard so ghosts are constantly appearing to the residents, ongoing exorcisms by the local ghost expert, paralleling their own evictions in the living world.MORE
Throughout spring 2015 the CAG is hosting a series of artists-in-residence, each continuing research toward participatory projects to be realized throughout 2015–2016. The Field House Studio is an off-site artist residency space and community hub organized by the Contemporary Art Gallery. This program moves beyond conventional exhibition making, echoing the founding origins of the gallery where artists were offered support toward the production of new work, while reaching out to communities and offering new ways for individuals to encounter and connect with art and artists. Running parallel to the residency program are an ongoing series of public events for all ages.
Fletcher will develop research rooted in his recent walking projects toward a new piece for Vancouver. In 2013, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, he developed a four day walk with a group of museum staff, scientists and members of the public. Over forty miles, from the museum across the Bay to Emeryville and the top of Mt Diablo, each participant presented topics related to the areas they were travelling through. Each day featured several official stops while countless unofficial observations added to the experience, additional members of the public connected with the core group at more than a dozen points along the path. By extending the museum’s curiositybased learning into the surrounding landscape, the project aimed to transform the everyday world into an open classroom, working toward a greater integration of the cultural institution within its surrounding community.
Fletcher has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects since the early 1990s. His work has been shown at SFMoMA, de Young Museum, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Yerba Buena Center, all in San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum; The Drawing Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, and The Sculpture Center, all in New York; PICA, Portland; The Seattle Art Museum; Signal, Malmö, Sweden; Domain de Kerguehennec, France; Tate Modern, London and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. His work was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and was the 2005 recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts. From 2002 to 2009 Fletcher co-produced Learning To Love You More, a participatory website with Miranda July. His 2005 exhibition The American War originated at ArtPace in San Antonio, travelling to Solvent Space, Richmond, VA; White Columns, NYC; The Center For Advanced Visual Studies, MIT, Boston; PICA, Portland and LAXART, Los Angeles among other locations. Fletcher is an Associate Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University, Oregon.MORE
Keg de Souza’s handmade inflatable dome will become a temporary space outside the Burrard Marina Field House for a public picnic engaging Canadian colonial narratives via a consideration of Canadian food traditions. Meeting with local chefs, food activists and local residents de Souza is preparing a truly Canadian feast as a source for an afternoon of unfolding dialogue that de Souza will map directly onto the inflatable’s flooring. A starting point for the discussion is the ephemerality of the event itself – perhaps the only remnants that will be left behind are an intertwining of disconnected dialogues, mapped together with dirty dishes, crumbs and more questions posed. After the meal is eaten and the structure deflates, the temporary community is also dispersed. This event is the first public event by Keg de Souza in Vancouver throughout 2015-16 exploring food culture as a metaphor for urban displacement.
Australian artist de Souza investigates the politics of space informed through a formal training in architecture combined with her experiences such as squatting in Redfern, Sydney. De Souza’s work emphasizes participation and reciprocity, and often involves the process of learning new skills and fostering relationships to create site and situation-specific projects. For over ten years she has self-published her hand-bound books and ‘zines under the name All Thumbs Press.
In 2013, de Souza developed projects for the 5th Auckland Triennial, 15th Jakarta Biennale and the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. More recently, at the Delfina Foundation, London, she hosted a series of picnics held inside an inflatable tent installation designed to fit within the gallery space. Notionally “traditional” English food such as cucumber sandwiches, Cornish pasties and Ploughman’s Lunches were made linking to specific cultural histories as a way to discuss class, privilege, space and colonialism. As picnickers ate and spoke, de Souza mapped the discussion on the floor creating a giant cartography of the conversation. Also in 2014 she completed a residency with KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia working closely with community organizers and residents of Kampung Ratmakan to create an inflatable ghost house and a film featuring drawings by local children made during a ghost story workshop. Their local government had announced a major development plan affecting the Ratmakan area and the squatters residing there started to be displaced. The area is built on a graveyard so ghosts are constantly appearing to the residents, ongoing exorcisms by the local ghost expert, paralleling their own evictions in the living world.
NIGHT SCHOOL II IS NOW SOLD OUT!
Thank you for your interest!
Please stay tuned for updates for NIGHT SCHOOL III
March 26 to July 9 2015
Cost is $350 or can be split to four payments of $87.50/month and includes a complimentary CAG membership.
Space is limited with only 20 seats available for this semester.
Contact Kristin Cheung on 604 681 2700 or email@example.com for further details and to enrol.
This spring the Contemporary Art Gallery launches its second instalment of Night School, a program for new collectors and contemporary art enthusiasts. Night School is an introductory contemporary art survey that is intentionally accessible, intelligent and engaging. Through a curriculum built from the history of exhibitions at the CAG, participants will learn about common themes in recent visual arts and ways in which they are interpreted and discussed. Four lectures by guest instructor Lee Plested will introduce work by important artists from Vancouver and around the world. A suggested reading list will complement the discussion program.
Night School participants will also participate in studio visits with internationally recognized local and international artists including: Liz Magor, Andrew Dadson, Tamara Henderson and Julia Feyrer.
Night School offers direct access and dialogue with artists and curators in the city. Alongside its curriculum, studio visits, exhibition previews and social events will provide an expanded perspective on the Vancouver art scene and an opportunity to get out into the community to build a greater exposure and appreciation of art production in the city.MORE
The CAG is excited to welcome back Burrard Marina Field House Studio resident Keg de Souza this evening with a screening of her film, If There’s Something Strange In Your Neighbourhood… The film, which De Souza created during her artist residency with Kunci Cultural Studies Centre in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, explores the gentrification of a neighbourhood located alongside Yogyakarta’s main river, Kali Code. In the 1970s, the Kampung Ratmakan (neighbourhood) was built by squatters on a graveyard – a characteristic that continues to affect the community living there today. Ghosts are often seen by local residents and the community relies on a local ghost expert to move the ghosts out of their houses. In 2013 the mayor announced plans to develop the area and now the residents, like the ghosts, are beginning to be displaced. In addition to the film, De Souza worked alongside the residents of Kampung Ratmakan to create an inflatable ghost house (pictured above). The interior of the ghost house features embroidered ghost stories created from drawings made by some of the local children during a ghost story workshop.
We hope to see you there!
If There’s Something Strange In Your Neighbourhood…
Wednesday, March 18th, 7pm
Burrard Marina Field House
If There’s Something Strange In Your Neighbourhood…
Keg de Souza
Single channel HD video, sound, mirrors
Indonesian and Javanese with English subtitles
Interviewees: Pak Kuncung, Ikbal, Pak Antok, Mas Anton, Pak Remi, Budeh Kom, Mbah Endang, Ibu Toko, Ersa, Pak Agus, Sania, Mak Yem.
Translator/ community liaison: Invani Lela Herliana
Sound recordist: Lucas Abela
Original music: Pawang Hantu by Senyawa
Post sound: Timothy Dwyer
Subtitling: Invani Lela Herliana, Rully Shabara