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Yaletown-Roundhouse Station

Song of the Open Road
Vikky Alexander, Robert Arndt, Gerard Byrne, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyn, Kelly Jazvac, Kelly Lycan, Niamh O’Malley, Dawit L. Petros, Greg Staats, Lisa Tan
April 1 to June 18, 2017

B.C. Binning, Alvin Balkind Galleries, Events room, Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada line
Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival

“You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.”
—Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1856)

Taking its title from a poem by Walt Whitman, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents a group exhibition as the central feature of this year’s Capture Photography Festival. Work is presented both inside and outside and across all of the gallery’s spaces, embracing a diverse set of conditions and approaches centred in a conceptual understanding of an expanded field of photographic practice that examines notions of what you see is most definitely not what you get.

Bringing together artists from Canada, Eritrea, Ireland, Sweden, and the US, the exhibition includes works that combine thematically to interrogate ideas rooted in photographic histories, engaging ideas such as veracity, recollection, remembrance, belonging, staging, and how the image documents and records these or is evidence of differing realities.

Key to the exhibition is Images or shadows of divine things (2005–), an ongoing series by Irish artist Gerard Byrne. Visually rich and intellectually complex, the artist’s work in photography, film, theatre, and multiscreen installation examines the slippage between time and the act of image creation. Presented here, a selection of these black-and-white photographs seems to depict a much earlier period, evoking vernacular photographic idioms of American midcentury photography and thus pointing toward the relationship between time, appearance, and the photographic document. Through a collection of over twenty images, a sense emerges that the series has a certain scale of vision. However, it is more about picturing the historical “conditions” of image making than it is about riffing on an aesthetic. That sense of conditions emerges only once the particularity of the given images is surpassed—that is when it becomes obvious that the specifics of the images are not the point, this realization becoming palpable when a sufficient number of them are grouped together.

Robert Arndt’s activities search and reveal the means of accessing culture and history through the mediated forms of books, magazines and the Internet. Made for the exhibition, Remainders, Repeats and Rejects (2017) is characteristic in its investigation of production whereby documentation itself becomes the artwork. Alongside a large-scale photograph of the gallery wall on which it sits atop, Arndt’s work collects and conflates personal imagery with found and staged scenarios, highlighting the notion that documentation may be all that is required for an idea to exist and resonate. We imagine wide ranging connections, invent narratives and recognize links between images, all thoughts set in motion to create a diversity of potential meaning.

Recent work by Canadian artist Kelly Lycan includes installations based on Gallery 291, the iconic New York photography gallery opened by Alfred Stieglitz in 1905. These recreations are developed through sourcing images available online, in an attempt to uncover an understanding or experience of the space while drawing on simulations of the photographic illusion of this. Song of the Open Road features a new version of Nearby Nearby, 291 Burlap Walls (2015), composed of a series of images of the walls of Gallery 291 culled from Internet searches. Printed on paper, the work creates a pixelated arena of varicoloured white grounds, where it is as if each image is forensically being drawn from some depths to emerge on the paper’s surface.

As a contemporary of artists such as Richard Prince, James Welling and Sherrie Levine who were active in New York in the early 1980s, Vikky Alexander is often associated with the Pictures Generation. She is best known for work that foregrounds a strong interest in the histories of architecture, design, and fashion, often focusing on locations such as shopping malls, showrooms, and show apartments—sites of desire, aspirations, and ideas of home. The images are often complicated through light, reflections, and refractions and speak of a set of conditions and values embedded in appearances as seen through furnishings and the notional view from the window (here, a large-scale photo mural). Shown outdoors at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Model Suite (Sliding Door) (2005/17) interplays with its architectural surroundings; the station’s glass pavilion lends a further physical and visual layer as we see the daily activity on the street through the work itself.

Ambient Advertising (2016), installed across the CAG’s windows, is a reconfigured work by Toronto-based Kelly Jazvac. Salvaged billboard images that she has reframed, manipulated and cut through, seemingly in reference to a quintessential Canadian landscape, visually envelop the gallery at street level. Taken from contemporary advertising, the imagery appeals to our collective sense of identity through reference to the romantic and awesome natural world that surrounds us while questioning the feeding of desire as driven by contemporary consumer culture.

Alongside photographic work in a variety of processes, the exhibition also includes moving-image works. Sunsets (2012), by American artist Lisa Tan, combines literature and various historical and personal references to materially explore the intricate relationship between language, image, and experience. The video, filmed on the threshold between night and day, unfolds like a conversation. Seemingly inconsequential things pop up and take hold: a phone call interrupts, the sun starts to set, a stranger asks a question, translations are needed. The work narrates Tan’s engagement with enigmatic writers, with histories, technologies, and geographies that she knows, in order to mediate those that she doesn’t.

Concerned with issues of visibility and the slippage between a moment and an image, Irish artist Niamh O’Malley investigates the construction and arrangement of time and document as revealed through the moving image. Across two large-scale screens, the silent black-and-white video Glasshouse (2014) unfolds as a lengthy tracking shot. As the camera moves seamlessly from left to right along the glass panes, the natural idyll disappears here and there as the glass becomes more or less opaque. Through this O’Malley draws our attention to the process of looking, the camera seemingly attempting to locate and uncover meaning. Yet as images fragment, blocked by stained and broken glass, such efforts are thwarted, challenging our perception of what it is we are actually viewing and of how the images are constructed.

Born in Montreal and currently working in Stockholm, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn investigates issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics, and multiculturalism, often revealing the unnoticed political relevance of seemingly trivial historical anecdotes by shedding light on stories overlooked, hidden, or deemed otherwise insignificant. Seizing Hold of a Memory as It Flashes Up (2010) is a blind embossing using the speech of twelve-year-old Severn Suzuki, daughter of Japanese Canadian science communicator and environmental activist David Suzuki, delivered at the 1992 Earth Summit. Suzuki and members of ECO, the Environmental Children’s Organization, raised the money to travel from Vancouver to Brazil so they could attend the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Here, Suzuki delivered her speech before 172 representatives of different countries, 108 heads of state, and some 2,400 NGO representatives; 17,000 of the people who attended the parallel NGO Global Forum had consultative status, resulting in a meeting that ultimately led to the Kyoto Protocol.

Toronto-based artist Greg Staats, Kanien’kehá:ka (b. Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural world as an ongoing process of conceptualising a Haudenosaunee restorative aesthetic that defines the multiplicity of relationships with trauma and renewal. Staats addresses the systemic deficit of language—through personal and community archives and an intellectual and aesthetic interpretation of the body and ceremony. The installation untitled (objects of reciprocal thinking) (2014) combines both works from the beginning of the artist’s reflection of public and private within a Haudenosaunee linguistic and mnemonic continuum linked to place and recent works based on a reciprocal methodology. When at the edge of one’s condolence and within the liminal metaphysical space prior to renewal, there lies a hesitancy to move forward. While external and internal barriers must be overcome, the process must be completed with the help of others, both as witnesses and holders of the good mind. This ceremonial movement is comparable to moving from the darkness of the forest into the clearing where the light illuminates breath and one’s footing becomes clearer. The Mid-Winter (renewal) ceremony Gaihwayao:ni:, translated as “encouragement,” employs reciprocal gestures and words, repeatable to lifting up the mind after it has dropped down during condolence and/or post-trauma.

Chicago-based Canadian Eritean artist Dawit L. Petros similarly reflects through personal and cultural histories on ideas surrounding place making that are centred on a critical rereading of the relationship between African histories and European modernism. The book About the Author’s Journey from Ethiopia to Italy and about the Impressions Made on Him by His Stay in That Country in Tigrinya, by nineteenth-century writer Fesseha Giyorgis, was the first text published in the Tigrinya language (used in present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia). Using this as a guide, Petros undertook the journey from Ethiopia to Italy, his contemporary journey mirroring the historical passage across the Mediterranean Sea as well as the one undertaken by those currently fleeing to safety. When he arrived in Italy, the artist met a group of Eritrean migrants, with whom he made Untitled (2016), a collection of images with these individuals holding mirrors or archive materials in visual dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Viewed together, the photographs offer a metaphor-rich articulation of the fluidity of contemporary transnational experiences and attendant issues of cultural negotiation, speaking to how images and objects enable a sense of belonging or retrieval, both public and private.

We acknowledge the generous financial support of the following:

Vikky Alexander: Presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program—IntransitBC
Niamh O’Malley: Culture Ireland
Greg Staats: The Banff Centre, via a thematic residency program; the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario; and the Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada
Lisa Tan: Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists

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Song of the Open Road


Vikky Alexander
Model Suite [Sliding Door] (2015-17)
Until September 24, 2017

Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line

As a contemporary of artists such as Richard Prince, James Welling and Sherrie Levine who were active in New York in the early 1980s, Vikky Alexander is often associated with the Pictures Generation. She is best known for work that foregrounds a strong interest in the histories of architecture, design and fashion, often focusing on locations such as shopping malls, showrooms, and show apartments — sites of desire, aspirations and ideas of home. The images are often complicated through light, reflections and refractions and speak of a set of conditions and values embedded in appearances as seen through furnishings and the notional view from the window (here, a large-scale photo mural). Shown outdoors at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Model Suite (Sliding Door) (2005/17) interplays with its architectural surroundings; the station’s glass pavilion lends a further physical and visual layer as we see the daily activity on the street through the work itself.

Presented with Capture Photography Festival

Vikky Alexander is one of Vancouver’s most acclaimed artists. Her work has been recognized within Canada and internationally in New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Europe and in the United States. Working as a photographer, sculptor, collagist and installation artist, Alexander is a leading practitioner in the field of photo-conceptualism. Her work is at once both seductive and disruptive; she likes to situate the viewer within idealized spaces that reflect our aspirations and frames our desires within the dynamics of consumption and utopian ideals.

Alexander lives in Montreal and is represented by the Trepanier Baer Gallery in Calgary, Alberta, Wilding Cran, Los Angeles and Cooper Cole, Toronto.

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Off-site: Vikky Alexander - Model Suite (Sliding Door)


White, Steel, Slice, Mask
Window spaces
September 10, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Bear Claws Salad Hands
Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line
September 10, 2016 – March 19, 2017

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new multi-venue commission by collaborators Dutch artist Mirjam Linschooten and Canadian artist Sameer Farooq, interrogating the ways in which cultural diversity is narrated and represented. Working together for over a decade, the duo’s interdisciplinary practice creates community-based models of participation in order to reimagine a material record of the present. Utilizing installation, photography, design and writing, they investigate the tactics and methods of anthropology to examine various forms of collecting, interpretation and display. The result is work that reveals how institutions speak about our lives, evoking an archeology of the present often existing beyond the framework of the gallery. Their expansive projects develop intricate, speculative archives repurposing found objects and language to expose ruptures within cultural representation, questioning the invisibility of the archivist and interrogating the inherent value bias in collecting.

Over the past year Farooq and Linschooten have undertaken a series of cumulative research trips via the Burrard Marina Field House Studio Residency Program toward the development of installations at CAG, the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station and the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). Core to the various commissions are participatory workshops led by the artists with the Native Youth Program (NYP) at MOA, a program for Indigenous youth from Greater Vancouver where students engage in various aspects of working within a museum context, leading public tours, completing research projects and participating in presentations. Farooq and Linschooten invited NYP participants to consider their personal narratives in relation to the anthropological museum’s displays, identifying key elements for examination in the Multiversity Galleries. Throughout the histories of colonialism and capitalism innumerable cultural objects have entered museum collections around the world detached from the communities and physical bodies they belong to. Ripped from context and trapped behind glass, rearranged and discombobulated, the cultural authenticity, specificity and vitality of these objects are dismembered into taxonomies of otherness. Within the window spaces at CAG, Farooq and Linschooten consider such acts of ethnographic curation. Reflecting tensions between local communities and their representation in museums, Farooq and Linschooten focus on ongoing cultural forms that persist in contemporary culture. Replicating, yet also subverting, the supposed objective aesthetic of museum vitrines, Farooq and Linschooten have installed a collection of mass-produced cultural objects purchased from shops across the lower mainland, notionally representative of Vancouver’s largest immigrant communities. Display mechanisms such as shelves, hooks and bars are used to disrupt and unsettle the objects, disturbing the meticulous arrangement and suggestive of the uneasy relations between the conserved and custodian, artifact and everyday object, revealing the unintended violence of display.

At Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Farooq and Linschooten repurpose found language from a local souvenir shop highlighting the active commodification of culture. During their time in Vancouver the artists discovered Hudson House Trading Company, a typical tourist store in Gastown selling a plethora of Canadian ‘knick-knacks’ that capitalize on perceptions of Vancouver’s identity via a collection of cultural reproductions for sale. Through the simple act of reproducing the language of the store’s inventory list and applying the names of a selection of items directly onto the station windows, the Canada Line façade operates like an advert exaggerating the wholesale co-opting of culture as currency.

The re-appropriation of found images, objects and language developed into public installations both exaggerate and subvert the ethnographic strategies of representation and implicate such practices into a larger system of commodification utilized to propagate cultural hierarchy, difference and discrimination.

Projects are generously supported by the BC Arts Council Innovations Program, the Mondriaan Fund and the Hamber Foundation. Farooq and Linschooten’s collaboration with the Native Youth Program is developed in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology. The project at Yaletown- Roundhouse Station is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — IntransitBC.

The interdisciplinary practice of Sameer Farooq (Canada) and Mirjam Linschooten (Netherlands) can be situated as an expanded documentary practice, presenting counter archive’s, new additions to museum collections or making buried histories visible. Their work has been exhibited in various countries, including: Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Recent projects include The Figure in the Carpet, Blackwood Gallery, Toronto (2015); Faux Guide, Trankat, Morocco (2014); The Museum of Found Objects, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); The Museum of Found Objects, Sanat Limani, Istanbul (2010) and Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, Artellewa, Cairo (2014).

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Sameer Farooq and Mirjam Linschooten - Bear Claws Salad Hands


White, Steel, Slice, Mask
Window spaces
September 10, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Bear Claws Salad Hands
Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line
September 10, 2016 – March 19, 2017

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new multi-venue commission by collaborators Dutch artist Mirjam Linschooten and Canadian artist Sameer Farooq, interrogating the ways in which cultural diversity is narrated and represented. Working together for over a decade, the duo’s interdisciplinary practice creates community-based models of participation in order to reimagine a material record of the present. Utilizing installation, photography, design and writing, they investigate the tactics and methods of anthropology to examine various forms of collecting, interpretation and display. The result is work that reveals how institutions speak about our lives, evoking an archeology of the present often existing beyond the framework of the gallery. Their expansive projects develop intricate, speculative archives repurposing found objects and language to expose ruptures within cultural representation, questioning the invisibility of the archivist and interrogating the inherent value bias in collecting.

Over the past year Farooq and Linschooten have undertaken a series of cumulative research trips via the Burrard Marina Field House Studio Residency Program toward the development of installations at CAG, the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station and the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). Core to the various commissions are participatory workshops led by the artists with the Native Youth Program (NYP) at MOA, a program for Indigenous youth from Greater Vancouver where students engage in various aspects of working within a museum context, leading public tours, completing research projects and participating in presentations. Farooq and Linschooten invited NYP participants to consider their personal narratives in relation to the anthropological museum’s displays, identifying key elements for examination in the Multiversity Galleries. Throughout the histories of colonialism and capitalism innumerable cultural objects have entered museum collections around the world detached from the communities and physical bodies they belong to. Ripped from context and trapped behind glass, rearranged and discombobulated, the cultural authenticity, specificity and vitality of these objects are dismembered into taxonomies of otherness. Within the window spaces at CAG, Farooq and Linschooten consider such acts of ethnographic curation. Reflecting tensions between local communities and their representation in museums, Farooq and Linschooten focus on ongoing cultural forms that persist in contemporary culture. Replicating, yet also subverting, the supposed objective aesthetic of museum vitrines, Farooq and Linschooten have installed a collection of mass-produced cultural objects purchased from shops across the lower mainland, notionally representative of Vancouver’s largest immigrant communities. Display mechanisms such as shelves, hooks and bars are used to disrupt and unsettle the objects, disturbing the meticulous arrangement and suggestive of the uneasy relations between the conserved and custodian, artifact and everyday object, revealing the unintended violence of display.

At Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Farooq and Linschooten repurpose found language from a local souvenir shop highlighting the active commodification of culture. During their time in Vancouver the artists discovered Hudson House Trading Company, a typical tourist store in Gastown selling a plethora of Canadian ‘knick-knacks’ that capitalize on perceptions of Vancouver’s identity via a collection of cultural reproductions for sale. Through the simple act of reproducing the language of the store’s inventory list and applying the names of a selection of items directly onto the station windows, the Canada Line façade operates like an advert exaggerating the wholesale co-opting of culture as currency.

The re-appropriation of found images, objects and language developed into public installations both exaggerate and subvert the ethnographic strategies of representation and implicate such practices into a larger system of commodification utilized to propagate cultural hierarchy, difference and discrimination.

Projects are generously supported by the BC Arts Council Innovations Program, the Mondriaan Fund and the Hamber Foundation. Farooq and Linschooten’s collaboration with the Native Youth Program is developed in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology. The project at Yaletown- Roundhouse Station is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — IntransitBC.

The interdisciplinary practice of Sameer Farooq (Canada) and Mirjam Linschooten (Netherlands) can be situated as an expanded documentary practice, presenting counterarchives, new additions to museum collections or making buried histories visible. Their work has been exhibited in various countries, including: Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Recent projects include The Figure in the Carpet, Blackwood Gallery, Toronto (2015); Faux Guide, Trankat, Morocco (2014); The Museum of Found Objects, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); The Museum of Found Objects, Sanat Limani, Istanbul (2010) and Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, Artellewa, Cairo (2014).

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Sameer Farooq and Mirjam Linschooten - White, Steel, Slice, Mask


Jérôme Havre
Untitled (2010)
April 15 to August 31, 2016
Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line

This exhibition is part of Capture Photography Festival.

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a new commission by Jérôme Havre, the artist’s first project in Vancouver. Originally from France, Havre’s work considers representation, circulation, transmission and translation of black identities, interrogating racialized stereotypes and ideologies projected onto bodies.

Drawing directly onto a found family portrait, Untitled (2010) is a blunt gesture. The image depicts a family posed against a vintage car in a tropical landscape, its warm hues of analog colour giving entry to a past generation. Havre disrupts the scene, scrawling doodles of mask-like forms in white-out directly on to each family member’s face, erasing identity and subjectivity, reforming these physical bodies as alien figures.
Masks are objects held in high esteem in western culture. Through centuries of colonial violence and capitalist extraction these specific objects sit in private and museum collections around the world detached from the action, ritual, communities and physical bodies that they were made for. Disembodied heads without voice, these masked bodies are “stilled,” re-contextualized as stand-ins to represent otherness, here a reflection on western perceptions of blackness.

Jérôme Havre lives and works in Toronto having completed his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Since 2001 he has exhibited in Europe, Africa and North America, including most recently Talking Back, Otherwise, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto; Paradis: La fabrique de l’image, 14N 61W, Martinique; Land Marks, Peterborough Art Gallery, all in 2015. Havre is currently artist in residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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Jérôme Havre - Untitled


Scott is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, illustration, performance and sculpture. In , he began a comic book series, Wendy, the story of a fictional young woman living in an urban centre, who aspires to global success and art stardom but whose dreams are perpetually derailed. The position of the underdog, outsider and shape shifter is central to this body of work and the influence of feminist icons such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or artist, punk poet, experimental novelist and filmmaker Kathy Acker lingers.

Scott’s two panel installation at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, A Home Underground (Excerpt II) (2015) evolves from a new Wendy volume in which the eponymous character moves to Vancouver. Evoking the malaise of urban life, we see Wendy pictured moving through the city, a foil or reflection of the daily commuter passing through the station. Considering the two possible viewing positions for the work, inside the station descending the stairs or outside walking by, Scott has developed a recto-verso installation referencing the alter-ego/duality Wendy embodies, and the antagonism between mind and body. In this case, Wendy navigates Yaletown on her smart phone, juxtaposed with her inner self drilling head first into Vancouver’s sub terrain — a representation of existential frustration.

Presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — Intransit BC.

Scott currently lives and works in Montréal. For the Images Festival 2015, Scott produced Wendy Live! where a cast of English, Japanese and Mohawk-speaking performers enacted the newest Wendy book before its 2016 North American English-language release. Alongside his comic work, Scott produces work involving printmaking and sculpture and is represented by Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver. He recently completed a residency at the Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama, Japan.

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Off-site: Walter K. Scott - A Home Underground (Excerpt II)


Shannon Bool
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.

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Shannon Bool - The Flight of the Medici Mamluk


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first Canadian solo presentation of work by Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg, two new interrelated large-scale commissions across the gallery façade and off-site, both challenging and exploiting the opportunities presented at each location.

 

Klingberg’s practice is characterized by the intersection of received knowledge, folk beliefs, popular culture and divergent cultural activities. Her work draws our attention to how complicated the connections between these systems are, but it also plays with the things that arise in this encounter, a pivotal feature being an interest in what is produced by the hybridization of distinct cultures, traditions and geographies. The disparate and heterogeneous are interwoven creating meanings that mutate to form a new context.

 

At the gallery and the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, two murals of seemingly quasi-oriental pattern appear to evoke cosmic mandalas, transforming the individual spaces and enveloping the viewer in light and colour, shifting patterns and reflections. Klingberg’s work surrounds us. We are seduced, made part of a special atmosphere, immersed within the work rather than just looking at it. Her interest in using patterns and movement to manipulate our seeing, to influence our state of consciousness and our sensory impressions, has links with Op Art and the psychedelic movement of the late sixties, appropriate touchstones in the recent history of the counter culture in this part of the world.

 

However, what at first glance appears to recall a certain set of values and moments in time has another dimension, a different shared experience. If we look more closely we see that the intricate ornamentation, the symmetrically repeated symbols of these murals, is made up of something much more mainstream, corporate logos from Canadian low cost and high street stores. Concepts are intertwined: while science might appropriate metaphors from mythologies or New-Age ideas borrow from the language of the natural sciences, here spirituality merges with everyday consumer culture. Klingberg suggests that they are analogous, that both seem to promise the same thing: a state in which nothing is uncomfortable or threatening – the possibility of total, rapid satisfaction of our needs and desires, accessible to everyone. The images are so familiar that we no longer think about them, yet they present a subconscious influence uniting us in a no-man’s land between the public and the private. She evokes a spirit of community, or of communality, and poses questions regarding what it would be to have something in common.

 

Amid the proliferation of progressively similar goods it is the small, meaningful differences that count. The world around us is increasingly transformed into a surface filled with signs—computer screens, urban space, advertisements, the pages of newspapers— the most tangible properties being disposability and change. It is these surfaces that concern Klingberg. Our urban environment, its dwindling public places increasingly invaded by homogenous architecture and development, the objects we own, all constitute an intricate system of codes, messages and ideologies, our choices and participation tantamount to consuming. The boundary between art and design is often drawn along the line of utility and usefulness. But the edge becomes increasingly elastic when the difference between the values of these forms depends not so much on their functionality as on their seductiveness or power of rhetorical persuasion. Thus Klingberg’s work moves further than a mere critique of brand fetishism, the lure of contemporary global labels, beyond just pointing things out and rejecting them. It poses the awkward question of whether being alternative to a mainstream or on the “outside” is any longer possible. Might a more critical and appropriate assessment lie in revealing and acknowledging the subtle and insidious way in which we are all drawn into a sense of fascination with the things that surround us. Through her work we find ourselves in a situation in which we feel the power of images and beliefs being examined. We are all complicit.

 

The exhibition is supported by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists.

 

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Gunilla Klingberg - Brand New View (Vancouver)


The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a major new commission for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station by influential Vancouver–based photographer Marian Penner Bancroft.

Since the late sixties, Penner Bancroft has defined herself as a photographer, dedicating her practice to the medium, meditating on its conventions while also considering the dematerialization of the art object; combining conceptual art strategies as well as pushing the presentation and production of the photographic image into more immersive forms. She is known for drawing attention to the lines between where an image begins and what constitutes an image – at times using the physical framing device as a tangible three-dimensional photographic field.

The subject of Penner Bancroft’s work often resides in the personal, following her family, tracking their daily movements both real and, in the case of her ancestors, imagined. She embeds these inquiries into images of the landscape, using visual traces of a colonial transit to and across Canada as part of an individual yet generalized narrative of immigration and displacement. In recent years she has widened the scope of her research to include the histories of the fur trade, farming, music and religion in relation to the landscape and mapping.

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Marian Penner Bancroft - Boulevard


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.

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Mungo Thomson - Negative Space


A special version of a landscape drawing, Sky at Night by Itee Pootoogook is presented large-scale at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line, its physicality altering as light changes throughout the day, its imagery deliberately playing with and gaining meaning from the specificity of the site.

A resident of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Pootoogook belongs to a generation of Inuit artists who are transforming and reshaping the creative traditions that were successfully pioneered by their parents and grandparents during the second half of the twentieth century. In his large-scale graphite and coloured pencil drawings, Pootoogook makes images of places, people and things, observed with prosaic intimacy. The solo exhibition Buildings and Land at the Contemporary Art Gallery, focuses not on works involving portraits of family and friends but on those images that picture the things which structure daily routine in this part of Canada — buildings, landscape and the means to travel to other parts of the country.

The project is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.

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Itee Pootoogook - Sky at Night


CAG Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program.

In partnership with the City of Vancouver Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents Canadian artist Raymond Boisjoly as our inaugural resident artist. For six months he will occupy the Burrard Marina Field House, using it as a studio and a place for community engagement, coinciding with the launch of As It Comes, two new interrelated public works. The title appears at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as a discrete piece, humorously foreboding, and more comic than terrifying, presented in brightly coloured vinyl like a credit from a B-list horror film. Linked to the text in the gallery windows, Boisjoly removes all suggestions of the past, not to deny what has become history, but with the intent to restore belief systems that are still intact.

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Raymond Boisjoly - As It Comes - Window spaces


CAG Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program.

In partnership with the City of Vancouver Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents Canadian artist Raymond Boisjoly as our inaugural resident artist. For six months he will occupy the Burrard Marina Field House, using it as a studio and a place for community engagement, coinciding with the launch of As It Comes, two new interrelated public works. The title appears at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as a discrete piece, humorously foreboding, and more comic than terrifying, presented in brightly coloured vinyl like a credit from a B-list horror film. Linked to the text in the gallery windows, Boisjoly removes all suggestions of the past, not to deny what has become history, but with the intent to restore belief systems that are still intact.

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Raymond Boisjoly - As It Comes - Yaletown-Roundhouse Station


WAVES by Vancouver based and French born artist Nicolas Sassoon is the second commissioned work for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as part of the CAG’s offsite exhibition programme. It is part of Sassoon’s ongoing body of work using Moiré patterns – a visual blur inadvertently discovered by Swiss photographer Ernst Moiré – whereby two images are overlaid to create a third ‘plane’. The resulting optical effect causes the eye to see movement where there is none.

The Moiré pattern designed for the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is created by physical layering a symmetrical configuration of vertical, curved black lines on top of a coloured pixelated background. With no focal point the mural is activated by the movement of the viewer. As commuters pass by the two overlapping planes, horizontal waves appear to undulate rhythmically across the surface. Initially disorientating, sustained viewing creates an immersive effect, altering our usual encounter with the entrance of the station, erasing its glass side as if revealing another dimension.

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Nicolas Sassoon - WAVES


The Contemporary Art Gallery presented the first major exhibition of Vancouver artist Scott Massey. With the discrete work Aurorae sited in the windows and Via Lactea (above Glacier Lake) 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. Typically Massey’s work often accentuates and amplifies natural phenomena, often heightened through artificial means or via slight manipulations. His interest in challenging our perception of the natural world or urban landscape is exemplified in a series of photographic and light works.

 

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Scott Massey - Aurorae


We invite you to a special evening with renowned photographer Vikky Alexander

Meet at CAG at 6pm, drinks at 7pm at Opus Bar in Yaletown

Join us for an exclusive evening with artist Vikky Alexander. Alexander is one of Vancouver’s most acclaimed artists, often considered in association with the “Pictures Generation” and photo-conceptualism, she is best known for her large-scale photo mural installations and multimedia works that combine photography with sculptural objects.

Alexander will discuss Model Suite (Sliding Door) 2005/2017, a large-scale mural at CAG’s off-site Yaletown-Roundhouse Station site as part of the exhibition Song of the Open Road in partnership with Capture Photography Festival. Young Patrons are invited to a complimentary round of cocktails following the talk at the Opus Bar. Opus will be creating two custom cocktails inspired by Alexander.

We will be meeting at 6pm at the CAG and will walk collectively to the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line.

Sign up as a Young Patron today and begin your membership with the chance to meet Vikky personally over complimentary drinks at the Opus Bar after the talk.

In becoming part of the CAG Young Patrons community, you are joining a network of art-minded young professionals, artists and other creatives. Attend behind-the-scenes art gatherings that are both social and educational (drink and learn about contemporary art), from studio visits, to collections tours and more, as well as exciting events with our dynamic community partners. New members will also receive a limited edition publication and artist edition. If you are interested in learning more about the Young Patrons, please email h.wong@contemporaryartgallery.ca.

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Happy Hour with Vikky Alexander


On Thursday, October 10th a Brand New View (Vancouver) is coming to Vancouver courtesy of the Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg.

Klingberg uses familiar corporate logos to create quasi-oriental installations that take the cold and corporate and transforms it into warm and inviting art.

A former graphic designer, her work considers how these public icons come into our “private spheres.” She calls her art “craft work” that creates a feeling similar to embroidery.

Klingberg’s exhibition will consist of two murals – one at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and one on the façade of the Gallery at Nelson and Richards.

It’s the first exhibit of her work in Canada and I’m particularly happy it will be shown outside for people to enjoy as the soggy winter season settles in. Check out this short video to learn more about Klingberg’s work and what motivates her.

– Don Millar, CAG Board of Directors

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A ‘Brand New View (Vancouver)’ arrives…by Don Millar


A Vancouver Draw Down report…

On Saturday June 14 I spent the afternoon at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station with CAG Development Assistant, Olivia and CAG volunteer, Alex as a part of Vancouver Draw Down: the annual city-wide event that invites Vancouverites of all ages to take part in various drawing activities.

The CAG’s contribution to the day-long event was Boulevard Station a drawing workshop that saw participants trace over the top of Marian Penner Bancroft’s installation Boulevard  at the Canada Line’s Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.

Boulevard, a work of mirrored and kaleidoscoped Golden Elms and Sequoias trees, was a perfect venue for our tracing activity. All afternoon we traced different areas of Bancroft’s mural with charcoal, conte, pencils, markers or whatever else people wanted to work with! We got some amazing, creative and beautiful images! Even if the same spot was retraced, they still turned out looking unique and captivating. After each trace was finished we added them to a piece of plywood and created our own hybrid kaleidoscope community tree. It was amazing to see all the different styles, colours and lines that make up one abstract tree, see above for pics from the day and of the drawings made.

We had a great time and I can’t wait to be a part of more public program events at the CAG!

 

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Rounding up Yaletown at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station for Draw Down


 

 

It is with deep sadness we at the Contemporary Art Gallery learn of the death of Itee Pootoogook. His exhibition here last year proved a highlight of our program, it success seen in the positive reception from critics and visitors alike. We remember him fondly through his work which lives on.

The CAG exhibited Itee Pootoogook in 2013 with the solo exhibition Buildings and Land and an off-site commission Sky At Night  at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line. A selection of images from the exhibitions are seen above.
“His drawings of vernacular architecture in the North are daring in their simplicity, and his portraits of everyday activities, such as watching TV and fixing skidoos, are similarly unsettling in their apparent modesty and their claims about the sources and nature of Inuit art.”

– Lisa Gregoire, Nunatsiaq online

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674canada_loses_a_nunavut_master_of_contemporary_inuit_art/

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2014/03/20/itee-pootoogook-innovative-nunavut-artist-dead-at-63/

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Remembering Itee Pootoogook


The rain stopped briefly today to allow for the installation of the very colourful Negative Space by Mungo Thomson, part of CAPTURE Photography Festival which launches tomorrow, Tuesday Oct 1 at the Museum of Vancouver.

Take a look, at some ‘sneak peak’ pics from the installation this afternoon at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line, or… if you are travelling on the Canada Line, get off at the Yaletown-Roundhouse station and take a look for yourself!

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Installing Rainbows and Negative Space, Mungo Thomson in Yaletown


Today, the CAG (and people across Canada) celebrate Nunavut Day, a day that commemorates the NLCA (the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement). The NLCA is the largest comprehensive claim settlement in Canada, and it marked the first time that the Canadian map has changed since 1949 (with the incorporation of Newfoundland and Labrador).

Nunavut Day is a day to celebrate arctic traditions and the northern way of life. As our current exhibition features Inuit artist Itee Pootoogook, we invite anyone interested in celebrating Nunavut Day in Vancouver to join us and experience his work.

While you might seek out Wikipediato learn more about Nunavut today, the listing doesn’t say much about their fine arts scene. There has been an accelerated change in artistic expression in the past 50 years as many modern Inuit artists react to the present and the wider, more accessible world. Today’s northern nunavut artist is not as isolated, and the work produced is more contemporary, but no less representative.

If you are unable to make it today to the gallery, be sure to visit us on our forthcoming English, French, and Spanish tours of the current CAG exhibitions.

As I was researching more about Nunavut Day, I learned that while the official languages of Nunavut are English and French, 8% of the population speaks neither English, French, nor Inuktitut (the primary language of Nunavut). Unfortunately, my language skills are limited to English and French, so to those remaining 8%, I say: Nunavut Quviahugvik (Happy Times Nunavut in Inuinnagtun!)

***

Aujourd’hui, le CAG (et les personnes à travers le Canada) célèbrent la journée Nunavut qui commémore l’ARTN (Accord sur les revendications territoriales du Nunavut). L’Accord est le plus important règlement de revendications territoriales au Canada, et il a marqué la première fois que le plan canadien a changé depuis 1949 (avec l’incorporation de Terre-Neuve et Labrador).

La journée du Nunavut est une journée pour célébrer les traditions arctiques et la vie nordique. Comme notre exposition actuelle présente l’artiste inuit Itee Pootoogook, nous vous invitons à célébrer la journée du Nunavut à Vancouver avec nous et à découvrir son travail.

Alors que vous pourriez rechercher Wikipedia pour en savoir plus au sujet du Nunavut aujourd’hui, l’article ne dit pas beaucoup à propos de leur beaux-arts. Il y a eu un changement accéléré dans les expressions artistiques dans les 50 dernières années et nombreux artistes inuits modernes réagissent à l’actualité et à le monde plus accessible. Ces artistes d’aujourd’hui n’est pas aussi isolé, et le travail qu’ils produisent est plus contemporain, mais non moins introspective.

Si vous n’arrivez pas à venir aujourd’hui à la galerie, n’hésitez pas à nous rendre visite à nos visites guidées à venir en anglais, français, et espagnol de les expositions au CAG.

Comme je faisais des recherches au sujet de la journée du Nunavut, j’ai appris que même si ses langues officielles sont l’anglais et le français, 8% de la population ne parle ni anglais, ni français, ni l’inuktitut (la langue principale parlé au Nunavut). Malheureusement, mes compétences linguistiques sont limitées à l’anglais et le français (rouillée), donc à ceux qui tombent au 8%, je dis: Nunavut Quviahugvik (temps heureux Nunavut!)

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Happy Nunavut Day | Joyeuse journée du Nunavut


A behind the scenes look at the installation of Itee Pootoogook’s Sky at Night,  a Cape Dorset sunset comes to Yaletown.

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

 

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Look what’s happening at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station…


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