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As part of our contribution to Capture, Vancouver’s first annual city-wide photography festival, we present a new installation by American artist Mungo Thomson. Central to Thomson’s artistic proposition is that of context – be it institutional, cultural or that of everyday life – and it is through the breadth of his individual works that we are prompted to grasp the many challenges to our perception in the things we encounter daily. For Thomson is interested in the space between things, the subtext or background that consistently draws our attention. He has made works which record notional ‘silence’ – the sound of a room when no one is in it, the applause between songs on every live recording by Bob Dylan – produced works in a range of media based on TIME magazine, and made interventions into spaces which causing us to re-evaluate our expectations, such as Coat Check Chimes, his contribution to the 2008 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, where Thomson  replaced the 1,200 coat hangers in the Whitney Museum’s coat check with custom-made, musically tuned coat hangers that were modeled on orchestral triangles.

When we look at the stars we are actually bathed in the light of the past, and for Thomson this is another way to think about the history while simultaneously considering the ‘contemporary’ – that which constitutes our present is a set of signals between which there are gaps. Negative Space is an ongoing series of photographic murals of inverted astronomical imagery sourced from the Hubble Space Telescope. Thomson works with the Hubble archive in an ongoing way, generating a negative image every time the Hubble generates a positive one. Through a simple command in Photoshop, blacks become whites, whites become blacks, and all other colors are transformed into their complement. These images are then made into site-specific photographic murals for empty walls and installed like wallpaper, indoors and out, temporary and permanent. The project also includes an artist book, an original font, and a screensaver.

The project at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line is presented in partnership with Capture and the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.

This project heralds a more comprehensive exhibition of Thomson’s work to be presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery in 2014-15 produced in collaboration with SITE Santa Fe and accompanied by the first monograph to examine Thomson’s practice.


Mungo Thomson - Negative Space

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo institutional exhibition in North America for Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan.

Artistic and literary works are the starting point for Muresan who appropriates them in a reflective project that intersects with the recent history of Romania and other Eastern European countries
and, more generally, ponders the realities of the contemporary world. Included in the show are two newly commissioned pieces by the Contemporary Art Gallery with our partners FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva: an installation, Recycled Playground, which gives the exhibition its title and overarching tone, and a companion video Protesting Against Myself. A selection of other significant works is also presented. Juggling humour and critique, the artist highlights the structures and processes of all forms of power.


Ciprian Muresan - Recycled Playground

What stories simmer just beneath the surface of the public spaces that we dwell in? What characters are the strangers we
brush shoulders with? What characters are we? Argentinean artist Mariano Pensotti’s ingeniously voyeuristic work Sometimes I think, I can see you places writers in public spaces and uses them as literary surveillance cameras. Over the three weekends of the 2013 PuSh Festival, a group of Vancouver writers including Michael Turner, Lisa C. Ravensbergen, Adrienne Wong, Kay Slater, Charles Demers, Anakana Schofield, OZ and Caitlin Chaisson, were stationed in the lobby of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch equipped with laptops connected to projection screens. Their directive? To write a live account of whatever it is they saw — or imagine they saw — in these urban surroundings. Through the eyes and minds of these various writers, speculations unfolded, narratives were woven, and the anonymous individuals around us became implicated in a series of beautifully spontaneous fictions.

Mariano Pensotti is known internationally as one of the foremost directors in contemporary theatre. His work El pasado es un animal grotesco was presented on a revolving stage in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at PuSh, and his work La Marea presented outdoors in the streets of Gastown at PuSh 2011.

Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, The Playwrights Theatre Centre and Vancouver Art Gallery, and supported by Vancouver Public Library.

Produced with Ciudades Paralelas, a co-production between HAU Berlin and Schauspielhaus Zürich, in collaboration with Goethe-Institute Warschau and Teatr Nowy.

January 18-20, January 25-27 and February 1-3, 12-4 pm.

Located at the Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch Atrium and Vancouver Art Gallery, Lobby.


Mariano Pensotti - Sometimes I think, I can see you

The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the premiere of The Pixelated Revolution a new performance by Lebanese actor, director, and playwright Rabih Mroué. Mroué’s storytelling pits facts against propaganda imbued with a particular sense of humour and a visual sensibility. By means of a semi-documentary style of theatre, his often-controversial work draws attention to issues and events overlooked in the current political climate of the Middle East. Taking the form of a lecture-performance about the usage of mobile phones during the Syrian revolution, The Pixelated Revolution examines the contemporary and recent phenomenon of photographs made during such events of conflict, broadcast and shared via Facebook and other virtual communication tools, as a means to direct and communicate events to the world.

Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and grunt gallery.


Rabih Mroué - The Pixelated Revolution

Looking for a Missing Employee is a thoughtful and provocative performance puzzle in which Mroué follows the true story of a man who disappears from his low-level post at the Ministry of Finance in Beirut, never to be seen again. Merging storytelling with live sketching, the artist takes us on a perplexing search for the ‘truth’, littered with a sea of documents, clippings, photos and found objects. The material accumulates under multi-camera live feeds as we are exposed to the ways media shapes public perception, rumours, accusations, political conflicts and scandals. What unfolds is a commentary on the phenomenon of disappearance and proof that “between the truth and a lie, there is but a hair.”

Supported by The Roundhouse. Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and grunt gallery. This tour is made possible through the collaboration of P.S. 122 (New York), On the Boards (Seattle), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh).

Rabih Mroué, Looking for a Missing Employee
The Roundhouse, January 26–28, 8pm
Post-show discussion led by Vanessa Kwan, January 27


Rabih Mroué - Looking for a Missing Employee

Hammertown was a touring exhibition that highlighted a young generation of Canadian artists, with a focus on West Coast practice, and on artists who had recently come to prominence. The artists all shared an interest in widely available commodities, cultural products and popular media, and often re-inscribed these materials with personal, politicized meanings. The exhibition‘s engagement with landscape was a touchstone for works that propose a dialogue with social histories and ideas of place.

Location: Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, England (April/May, 2003)

October 5 – November 14, 2002

Catalogue with text by participating artists; co-published with The Fruitmarket Gallery, UK



In collaboration with the Charles H. Scott Gallery, CAG presented an exhibition of Cai Guo-Qiang, one of China’s most internationally recognized artists. His works insert traditional Chinese ideas and materials into contemporary Western idioms, contrasting the values of these disparate cultural systems. His work for the CAG began with a four-day performance in Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, an authentic full-scale classical Chinese garden. Fog machines were installed in this garden, creating a misty landscape that was painted on site by four traditional ink-brush painters. The paintings were displayed subsequently in the Binning Gallery, alongside an additional work created collaboratively by all five artists.


Cai Guo Qiang - Performing Chinese Ink Painting

Documents and Lies was an exhibition organized and circulated by Optica in Montréal. The exhibition presented the work of artists living in the UK. Although not photographic, the works pointed towards a number of photographic notions about truth and reality. Their particular use of traces – reproduced, modified or simply invented – allowed for the transition from a universal history to another, more personal one. By generating doubt, these projects produced a displacement of what is commonly understood by “document.” The exhibition included drawing, painting, sculpture and an installation. Curated by artist André Martin, this exhibition provided an artist’s perspective.


Documents & Lies

In this exhibition by Kelly Mark the fascination with the mundane was coupled with a desire to document and bring a sense of order to things. The work Broken Meter, for example, consisted of a grid of photographs documenting ideosyncratic notes left at broken parking meters. Placed presented photographs of objects, ranging from styrofoam cups to pieces of crumpled paper, that had been specifically “placed” or tucked into spots rather than simply being tossed away. Sniff was a video loop of the artist’s cat sniffing an array of objects placed in front of him. Origami Transfer was comprised of dozens of bus transfers that had been obsessively folded and shaped into miniature sculptures.


Kelly Mark

Jürgen Partenheimer
Thursday, May 8, 6pm
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Room 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island

In partnership with ECUAD and in conjunction with his residency, Partenheimer will discuss recent projects as part of his forthcoming solo exhibition at the CAG in September 2014.


Artist Talk | Renga: Dimensions of Abstraction - Jürgen Partenheimer

Tim Etchells
Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First
Monday, January 20  , 7 pm, by donation
The Fox Cabaret,  ‚2321  Main Street

Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First, written and directed by Tim Etchells, is a long free-associating
monologue that tumbles from topic to topic to create a vast, failing iteration and explanation of the world. Comical in its apparent naivety and preposterously encyclopedic in scope, the piece explores the absurdity and horror of consciousness as it tries and fails to seize and define everything that it encounters. Performed by Jim Fletcher, legendary New York actor, best known for his work with Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players and Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz, the monumental, word-for- word, eight hour staging of Fitzgerald’s prose masterwork. Join us post-performance for a drink and a conversation with Jim Fletcher and Tim Etchells, hosted by Norman Armour, Artistic and Executive Director of PuSh, in the newly renovated Fox Cabaret.

Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.


Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First - Tim Etchells

Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells
The Quiet Volume
January 17–19,  24­–26€, 31‚, February 1– 2
12–ƒ5 pm (€…60 minutes, no intermission)
Performances every 20 minutes, last performance 4­:…ƒ05pm
Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch
3‚rd Floor, ‚ƒ… 350 West Georgia Street

In The Quiet Volume — set at the library, designed for two at a time — recorded instructions and a stack of carefully selected books direct you through this contemplative, self-generated performance. The Quiet Volume takes what is considered a deeply personal and internal process and pushes it out into the surrounding environment so that one reader’s sphere collides with another’s. It exposes the particular tension common to libraries worldwide: a combination of silence and concentration within which different peoples’ experiences of reading unfold. In this performance, you and your co-reader/fellow audience member study printed words, conjure mental images, examine the act of reading in a new light in this surprising piece of ‘autoteatro.’ For the bibliophile and reluctant reader alike, The Quiet Volume exposes the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience.

Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and supported by Vancouver Public Library.


The Quiet Volume - Ant Hampton & Tim Etchells

Tim Etchells
Tuesday, January 21, 4 .30 ‚…pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street

In conjunction with the exhibition Who Knows, we join forces with PuSh to host Tim Etchells as a PuSh Festival   artist-in-residence and embrace the full scope of his practice. Whether, on stage or off, Etchells is concerned with liveness and presence and with the unfolding of events in time and place. At the centre of many of his projects, produced solely or with Forced Entertainment, there is a fascination with rules and systems in language, and in culture, and the way these systems are both productive and constraining. This artist talk forms a keynote
address as part of PuSh Assembly. Presented with PuSh International Performing Festival.


Tim Etchells - Keynote Speech

Richard Fung will present Dal Puri Diaspora (2012), an 80 minute film tracing the development of the dal puri roti, a dish originated in eastern India that traveled with South Asian and Caribbean Diasporas to Canada. There will be a post-screening conversation between Fung, Dr. Sneja Gunew (Professor of English and Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC) and Michelle Jacques (Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria).

Funded by the UBC President’s Endowment Fund in partnership with the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre and the CAG.


Talk | Dal Puri Diaspora


110 pages

This publication is produced in conjunction with Erin Shirreff: Available Light, curated by Sandra Dyck and Jan Allen and presented at the Carleton University Art Gallery and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and Erin Shirreff: Pictures, curated by Jenifer Papararo and presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery. It includes essays by Sandra Dyck and Jan Allen and an interview with the artist by Jenifer Papararo.


Erin Shirreff


83 pages

This full colour publication features an introduction by Ben Tufnell and an essay by Douglas Fogle, and was published on the occasion of the exhibition Photoworks, June 7 to August 25, 2012 by Haunch of Venison, London.


Nancy Holt - Photoworks


183 pages

This publication accompanied the exhibition Sarah Browne, How To Use Fools Gold which was exhibited at the CAG, Ikon Gallery UK and Project Art Centre, Dublin and includes commissioned essays by Tessa Giblin, Curator of Visual Arts, Project Arts Centre, Dublin and artist Jeremy Millar, plus texts by graphic designer Chris Lee and anthropologist Marshall Sahlins.


Sarah Browne - How To Use Fool's Gold


87 pages

This intimate publication focuses on Frances Stark's pivotal feature length video My Best Thing, a digital video animation, which traces the development of two sexual encounters that progress into conversations about film, literature, art, collaboration and subjectivity.

British curator Mark Godfrey captures the density of this recent work by Stark with an in-depth essay Twenty-First Century Art which considers the artist's use of online sex-chat rooms as vehicles for her creative process. Godfrey addresses Stark’s resolve in representing her broad and at times clashing interests from her recently found enthusiasm for the controversial dancehall musician Beenie Man to her homage for the highly respected feminist painter Sylvia Sleigh. In conveying the complexity of her interests Stark manages to imbue these commonly disparaged internet sites, as well as their users, with positive, productive and social characteristics. In Stark’s depiction, as Godfrey states, “strangers meet, communicate, share ideas rather than brand preferences, and change how each one sees the world.”

This book is co-published by Koenig Books, London, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, and the Walter Philips Gallery, Banff on the occasion of the exhibition of My Best Thing at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff (Sept. 24 – Dec.11, 2011) and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (Feb. 3 – Apr. 8, 2012).


Frances Stark - My Best Thing


70 pages

This catalogue is the first publication devoted entirely to the work of Robert Orchardson, and includes a text by Matthew Rampley, and accompanies the Contemporary Art Gallery exhibition, Robert Orchardson, Endless façade, November 17, 2011 to January 15, 2012 and  Endless façade at Ikon Gallery February 23 to April 25, 2011. Co-produced with Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK.


Robert Orchardson - Endless façade


35 pages

This exhibition catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition Unterspiel cureated by Seamus Kealy and held at the Contemporary Art Gallery from July 1 to August 14, 2005. The exhibition and publication was co-produced with the Critical and Curatorial Studies Program at the University of British Columbia and Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. Design by Jeff Khonsary.

This publication is out of print.




106 pages

ALEX MORRISON - GIVING THE STORY A TREATMENT is published by Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, and Nicolaus Schafhausen, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main With a text by Lars Bang Larsen and an interview by Jeff Derksen, with texts in English and German. Giving the Story a Treatment is the first comprehensive publication on the Canadian artist Alex Morrison (*1971). 

In his documentations of youth lifestyles, particularly the culture of skaters, Alex Morrison questions to what extent sub-cultural expressions can be considered authentic, especially in the face of strategies of staging and their commercialization by the media. The renowned Canadian writer Jeff Derksen and Danish art critic Lars Bang Larsen contribute penetrating perspectives into Morrison's work, linking it in a historical continuum with activist moments of recent history and contemporary events.

(...) I have always been interested in what forms radical or sub-cultural activities will inhabit once they eventually make their debut upon the greater cultural field. Perhaps, in these new forms, the message becomes buried under commodification and the particularities of critique lost through the move towards a greater generality and appeal to the largest demographic. In Free Room one question I sought to ask was: are these forms capable of carrying a viable critique? Or in simpler terms: which is more effective, direct action or cultural production? (Alex Morrison)

Published with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Foreign Affairs Canada and Künstlerhaus Bethanien.


Alex Morrison - Giving the Story a Treatment


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