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
When Sky Was Sea
November 21, 2014 to January 11, 2015
B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries
The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first large-scale survey exhibition in North America of work by renowned Japanese artist Shimabuku. Demonstrating the breadth of the artist’s practice, works revealed an essential correspondence to things elsewhere in a wider world, insisting on our grasp of the continuity that exists between art and (non-art) life. As he travels the world, interacting with strangers, and conversing with nature, Shimabuku instigates moments of poetry, humour and surprise.
Including pieces dating back to the mid-1990s, when he first emerged as an artist in Japan, through to presenting a wide variety of more recent work for which he has since become internationally celebrated, the exhibition exemplifies an extraordinary curiosity and freedom of expression. Shimabuku uses installation, video, photography, drawings, sculpture and events alike to convey his intense fascination with the natural world—equally the animal and vegetable realms—and the countless manifestations of human culture within it. His artistic proposition is essentially one of storytelling and discovery. He encourages us to assume an “alien” identity whereby we break with established habits of perception and enjoy experiences as if they are happening to us for the first time.
From the beginning, incongruity has characterised much of Shimabuku’s work, seen in early performances such as Tour of Europe with One Eyebrow Shaved (1991) or Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere (1994), the gentle surrealism of the works is compelling. Shimabuku is not so interested in discovering the reasons why, instead preoccupied, through a joyful approach, with unions of myth or mystery and the everyday. This is epitomized by Something that Floats / Something that Sinks (2008), a work through which the artist draws our attention to the fact that some pieces of fruit and vegetables float in water or appear to swim, while others sink. It is wonderful and ostensibly miraculous.
The inversion of the way things are conventionally seen to be is crucial to Shimabuku’s practice. He is interested in what is normal being made strange and often picks up the theme of the journey in his work, the means by which difference occurs through translation in both time and space. The photograph Cucumber Journey (2000) commemorates a two week performance travelling slowly north on British canals while learning to pickle vegetables. He has stated, “I think cooking and art are similar. They are both about unexpected meetings of far-away ingredients, to create something delicious, something good”. In his video Then, I decided to give a tour of Tokyo to the octopus from Akashi (2000) we see him with an octopus in a fishtank taking a Shinkansen train to Tokyo. There they make touristic visits to the Tokyo Tower and the famous Tsukiji fish market before getting back on the train for a return trip so that the octopus can be submerged again, back home in the Akashi Sea. The artist refers to this work as his Apollo project, involving as it did an adventure far from the natural habitat of the octopus – the fishtank being the equivalent of a spacecraft – isolated from the surrounding atmosphere so that the octopus could survive its voyage into unfamiliarity. We easily imagine how weird our world must have seemed to the octopus whilst being reminded of how “wonderful” such a creature is from our point of view.
The involvement of others, not only in the consumption but also the production of his work, marks Shimabuku out as a major figure in the recent development of relational art practice. He has produced many events, interventions and performances that are very open to audiences, to the point that they become active participants. When the Earth Turned to Sea (2002) requires dozens of volunteers to fly Chinese fish kites, the result is a shoal of fish in the sky – or a flock of fish – and so the world is turned upside down. Passing through the rubber band (2000), similarly invites gallery visitors to step through the stretching loops, a simple act of fun and wonder via the most modest of means, as in all of his works the marvellous emerges from the mundane.
The exhibition is complementary to and produced in partnership with Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland.
Shimabuku (1969, born in Kobe, Japan) lives and works in Berlin. Selected solo exhibitions include: Sea and Flowers, Barbara Wien Wilma Lukatsch, Berlin; City in the sea, Air de Paris, Paris; Flying Me, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2014); Something that Floats/Something that Sinks, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK and Noto, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2013); Leaves Swim, Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Spain (2012); Man should try to avoid contact with alien life forms, Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’Île de Vassivière, Vassivière, France; On the water, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2011); The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2009); DAAD galerie, Berlin; Wilkinson Gallery (2007); Swansea Jack Memorial Dog Swimming Competition, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea (2003); Then, I Decided To Give a Tour of Tokyo To the Octopus From Akashi, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris (2002); America, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (1994).
He has participated in several group exhibitions including: The Great Acceleration, Taipei Biennial , Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2014); Aquatopia, Tate St. Ives and Nottingham Contemporary, UK; Re: emerge, Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE (2013); Mount Fuji does not exist, Frac Île de France – Le Plateau, Paris (2012); Impossible Community, Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Kaza Ana/Air Hole: Another Conceptualism from Asia, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; International Triennale of Contemporary Art, Yokohama (2011); Eating the Universe: Food in Art, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (2009); Between Art and Life, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Genève, Switzerland; Experimenta FOLKLORE, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (2008); Beautiful New World: Contemporary Visual Culture from Japan, Long March Project, Beijing, China; How to live together, MAC: Museo de Arte, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2007); How to live together, 27th Bienal de São Paulo; Berlin-Tokyo Tokyo-Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; International 06, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2006); Expat-Art Centre, ICA, London + Musee de Art Contemporain, Lyon, France (2004); Utopia Station, 50th Venice Biennale, Venice (2003); Facts of Life, Hayward Gallery, London (2001); Elysian Fields, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000); Space, Witte de With, Rotterdam (1999); Everyday, 11th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (1998). Shimabuku is represented by NoguerasBlanchard Gallery, Barcelona and Madrid; Air de Paris galerie de’art contemporain, Paris and Barbara Wien Wilma Lukatsch Gallery, Berlin.MORE
Thursday, May 8, 6pm
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Room 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island
This special event involves multiple voices approaching notions of abstraction from a variety of poetic, philosophical and theoretical standpoints by Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Jürgen Partenheimer. Born in Munich in 1947, Partenheimer studied the theory and practice of art in Germany, the USA, Mexico and France. As a representative of a subjective abstraction, he is considered one of the most important contemporary artists of Germany. With theory, poetry and prose as his referential grammar for artistic expression, Partenheimer’s work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture and text. Marked by a post-minimalist background and a poetic intensity, his art has been referred to as metaphysical realism. He became internationally renowned following his participation in the Paris, Venice and São Paulo Biennials, and in 2000 became the first contemporary German artist to have a retrospective in China at the National Museum of Art in Beijing. His work has been part of major exhibitions including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the Miró Foundation in Barcelona and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.
Featuring guest appearances by Nigel Prince, Nicholas Lea, Mayko Nguyen and Aoife MacNamara.
Partenheimer’s work has received many national and international prizes and awards, among others the Art Critics’ Prize of Madrid, Spain; the NEA Grant, National Endowment of the Arts, New York; Canada Council Grant, Montréal and the Federal Cross of Merit of Germany for outstanding international achievement. Partenheimer has taught as Professor, Distinguished Visiting Professor and Visiting artist among others at San Francisco Art Institute; Academy of Fine Arts, Düsseldorf, University of California at Davis; Rijks Academy in Amsterdam; Royal College of Art, Edinburgh; Rhode Island School of Design and WITS School of Arts in Johannesburg.
Partenheimer’s residency at Emily Carr takes place from February – May, 2014 in preparation for an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery in the fall of 2014. The exhibition in Vancouver forms part of an open cooperation with the Pinakothek der Moderne München (The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Munich); Falckenberg Collection, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and the Gemeentemuseum The Hague, exploring site and space-related installation concepts. Parallel to the different exhibitions, all of which will be held in 2014, the participating institutions closely worked on a publication with the artist that aims at commenting on and integrating the various aspects of his work as an additional ‘fifth room’. International authors from a variety of different disciplines, including Anne Carson, Lebogang Mashile, Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Antje v. Graevenitz, John Burnside, Oswald Egger and Rudi Fuchs, have taken up the invitation to write contributions and become involved in this project. Published by Distanz Publishers, Berlin, 2014.
Established in 2012, the Audain Distinguished Artist in Residence Program has a mandate to bring nationally and internationally renowned contemporary artists to Vancouver, create curriculum specific to each individual visiting artist, and support the creation of new works. Adopting a flexible model that encourages experimentation, collaboration, dialogue and engagement, the program will benefit artists, the academic community, the Vancouver art community at large, and will greatly contribute to Vancouver’s stature within the international art world. The Program, housed within the Audain School of Visual Arts encompassing the Faculty of Visual Arts + Material Practice, provides support for two artists per year to live and work in Vancouver for a one to three month period, and includes living and travel expenses, support for production costs, exhibitions and honoraria.
Please note that Aoife MacNamara’s reading has been removed due to technical difficulties. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenient.MORE
A time lapse video of Scott Massey’s exhibition Aurorae in the Contemporary Art Gallery windows. The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first major exhibition of Vancouver artist Scott Massey. With discrete works sited in the windows and at the Canada Line station, Massey linked both locations through two new pieces dealing with shifts in notions of time and place and the mutable connections between them.MORE
Eli Bornowsky interviews Elizabeth McIntosh on the occasion of the exhibition – Eli Bornowsky: Walking, Square, Cylinder, Plane - November 26 – January 22, 2011
© Contemporary Art Gallery, The Western Front and The Artists, 2011.
Artist collective bgl discuss their work and their exhibition Marshmallow + Cauldron + Fire = at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, April 2009.
Congratulations to bgl who will represent Canada at the 2015 Venice Biennale.MORE
Dexter Sinister discuss the exhibition An Invitation to An Infiltration, 2010. An ideal context for an examination of the competitive nature of group exhibitions was during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Organized by guest curator Eric Fredericksen, An Invitation to An Infiltration was a group exhibition of local and international artists ranging from emerging to established.MORE
Holly Ward discusses her work in the group exhibition An Invitation to An Infiltration, 2010. An ideal context for an examination of the competitive nature of group exhibitions was during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Organized by guest curator Eric Fredericksen, An Invitation to An Infiltration was a group exhibition of local and international artists ranging from emerging to established.MORE
This is the second installment in a series of three parts of a Q&A that Patrick O’Neill conducted with Jeremy Shaw. Part 1 can be found here.
Patrick O’Neill: The soundtrack seems to occupy a pivotal role in both films in this exhibition. To what extent has your artistic practice been informed by your experiences with Circlesquare and vice versa?
Jeremy Shaw: As far as my skill sets go, [sound design] has been a massive influence. I spent countless hours/days/months working on Circlesquare music – experimenting with production, writing and recording, learning programs, samplers, instruments, etc. All of this is all very useful in technical ways with how I am working now. I used to really try and keep these two practices separate, but since disbanding Circlesquare I’ve felt a real freedom to use music in a much more present way in my art works. I brainstorm in both a visual and musical way – rarely do I think of one without the other.
PO: You seem to be quite conscious of the power of technology to inscribe or convey belief structures to the viewers or users of those technologies. Is this idea simply of personal interest, or is it something you try to explicitly acknowledge in your works?
JS: It’s a device I use as a way to lure a viewer into something via an assumed awareness. Their personal understanding of/relationship to the technology puts them somewhat at my disposal to subvert that familiarity; to propose something new via this comfort. It is definitely acknowledged in the works – for example, in Variation FQ, the first 3 minutes are mono sound and the antiquated 16mm image authentically mimics a 1960’s aesthetic. If one was not to know of contemporary voguing, they could believe this was an archival work. But at 3 minutes in when Leiomy takes her hair out, the audio switches dramatically to surround sound and an MP3 quality digital sound is introduced while she shakes her head in a way that would be difficult to believe was shot anytime before the late 1980’s. So here the projector and media and music all come into question as no longer endorsing the initial set-up. I like the idea of collapsing time this way.MORE
As part of my internship at the CAG, I was able to assist with the installation of Grace Schwindt’s exhibition. The fun part of this installation was being able to assist with the colour coordination of the 9 jewel toned and naturally dyed ribbons. There was no formula or method to the colour selection, just what looked well together. Grace liked the arrangement so much that she is repeating the colour sequence at Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp where the show is traveling to. In Canada, you can catch the film next at Contemporary Calgary!
- Jas LallyMORE
If you were walking down Nelson Street in the evening between February 3rd and May 16th, you hopefully spied the work Aurorae by Scott Massey in the CAG street front window spaces. During the day, the window spaces appeared to be coated in some kind of nondescript blue paint and visitors would come into the gallery either unaware that there was something on display or perplexed as to what it represented. When on my volunteer shift at the gallery, I would welcome visitors to make a date to come back to the gallery after dark so that they could enjoy the light-show piece, but as the gallery was closed most evenings after 6 pm, I never really saw if anyone came back to satisfy their curiosity.
I was lucky enough to have a friend live in the building across the street and we made a special tea & art viewing date together, specifically so that we could spend an evening with Aurorae.
But even if you didn’t have a friend living across the street from the gallery, or if you didn’t find the time after dark to see Massey’s light display piece in the window spaces, you’re able to see it here thanks to his time lapse video below.
As the night sky lightens on Massey’s celestial light-show phenomenon, the light takes on a more earthly halogen with Josephine Meckseper’s discussion on consumer culture and the world of advertising. The exhibition American Leg by Josephine Meckseper opens on Thursday, May 24th (7-10 PM). Currently based in New York, this will be Meckseper’s first exhibition in Canada. Additionally Josephine Meckseper will talk on her work on Wednesday May 23 at 7 pm at SFU Woodwards, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, this talk is free and all are welcome.
Scott Massey’s Off-site project Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) will remain on view at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line until July 1st. This piece, also dealing with the night sky, can be seen in the day time (or night time).MORE
Matthew Monahan is interviewed for Life on Mars the Carnegie International in 2008. Matthew Monahan’s first Canadian solo exhibition opens at the Contemporary Art Gallery on Thursday April 26 and continues until July 1, 2012.MORE
On Sunday April 1st at the CAG, Tate Modern curator Mark Godfrey gave an engaging talk on Frances Stark’s practice in relation to her work My Best Thing to over 100 visitors. Frances Stark’s My Best Thing is a feature length animation film currently on view until Sunday April 15. Here are some images of the event taken by CAG volunteer Jamie Dolinko.MORE
It is always exciting to retrace the path of an artist you admire.
Today, the gracefulness and lightness of Elspeth Pratt’s work adorns the urban Offsite exhibition space of the VAG. It looks novel and contemporary, seemingly hand-made and whimsical but rendered in a scale that is normally out of proportion to the material.
In this blog entry, I’d like to consider Pratt’s journey towards becoming an important figure in the Vancouver art scene in relation to the CAG.
In several ways the CAG played an important role in her artistic career, being the site of her first solo exhibition. In 1985, Pratt reflected on social commentary, urban issues, art, architecture and man-made environment through her formal sculptures.
In 1988, Robert Linsley, with assistance from the CAG, curated an exhibition of three Canadian sculptors held at Sala 1 gallery in Rome. Among them, Elspeth Pratt would travel to Italy to present her abstract yet gestural sculptures to a European audience in an exhibition entitled “Architettura: Astrazione”.
These are not the only instances Pratt has shown work at the CAG. She also exhibited Bluff in the gallery’s street front windows in 2007. This site-specific work commented on the lack of foresight that characterises downtown Vancouver’s residential-highrise industry.
Currently Pratt’s name is listed among 1000 others in the windows as a reminder of the gallery’s artistic legacy and in commemoration of their 40th anniversary.
To view a short video of the artist commenting on her work, please follow this link:
To read a recent article on Elspeth Pratt’s work at the VAG Offsite location, please refer to:
Roy Arden’s solo exhibition at the CAG is now closed. It was extremely well attended, with 2,479 visitors. On March 19th we celebrated the launch of Arden’s artist publication, UNDERTHESUN, which was available at the gallery free of charge and distributed to various locations around the city. We still have some of the publications left and they will be available at the CAG for the price of $10 once we reopen next week. We also released a special edition of 15 black and white archival pigment prints by Roy Arden. They were a great deal and sold out in a flash!
UK based artist Kelly Richardson has won international acclaim for her large scale, multi-channel video installations. This superbly illustrated retrospective of audiovisual installations works is the first retrospective publication featuring an extensive look at the UK-based Canadian born artist's audiovisual installation works of the last fifteen years. The Last Frontier is a comprehensive survey of Richardson’s artistic output, features four beautiful cover options to choose from, and includes essays by Alistair Robinson, Holly E. Hughes and Kelly Gordon and an introduction by Ryan Doherty and Louis Grachos. Designed by Three Legged Dog Design.
This publication is available in a choice of three covers, Orion Tide, Leviathan and Mariner.
*Special exhibition price of $40, only during the exhibition.MORE