James Langdon – A School for Design Fiction

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James Langdon – A School for Design Fiction



16 Sep, 2014 to 18 Sep, 2014 – 6pm

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James Langdon
A School for Design Fiction
16-18 September 2014, 6pm-9pm

As our contribution to Vancouver Design Week, the CAG is working with James Langdon, recipient of the 2012 Inform Award for Conceptual Design, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, Germany. Langdon will offer a short course in reading objects, environments and messages. Stimulated by the curious genre of design fiction, the programme asserts storytelling as the primary function of design. Langdon will conduct a three day workshop on September 16–18 exploring narrative approaches to design, a series of connected exercises subjecting a collection of found materials to various manual and conceptual processes.

The workshop is not concerned with speculative design or futurism, but with documenting and manipulating the narrative potential of ordinary artefacts through conside ration of their essence; their relations with each other; and the meanings they might be made to express.

Space is limited to 12 participants. further information at or 604 681 2700.







James Langdon  
Vancouver Design Week  


Related Exhibitions

Jürgen Partenheimer
The Archive – The Raven Diaries
September 12 to November 9, 2014

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by acclaimed German artist Jürgen Partenheimer. Reflecting the diversity of the artist’s practice, the exhibition comprises works on paper, text, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, produced in Vancouver in spring 2014 during his recent residency as the Audain Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, hosted by Emily Carr University of Art + Design .

Partenheimer’s work is essentially abstract; his drawings and paintings are remarkable for their fragile beauty, whilst sculpture and ceramic work, suggesting some usefulness, remain elusive with respect to any specific function. His visual language, the particular form of poetic abstraction, and his life-long interest in notions of representation with consideration of locality, space and place, suggest a key resonance with artistic practice in the city, asserting continuity between these forms and an experience of daily life.

The imaginary archive that gives the exhibition and associated book its title provides the framework for the exhibition based on the oeuvre of the artist. They are the visible expression of both intellect and emotion carrying traces of their process, temporality and correspondence with other objects. To this end, in Vancouver the exhibition has a subtitle, The Raven Diaries, referencing the symbol and characteristics of the Raven to west coast First Nations culture, while simultaneously drawing analogies to similar figures in cultural myths elsewhere in the world, and especially to the role of the artist as trickster, representative of a catalyst for change in life, for creativity and humour.

Additionally, a selection of Partenheimer’s ceramic works will be on view at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Vancouver in the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery. Reflecting Partenheimer’s interest in the interconnectivity of cultural disciplines, in October we will host performances of electro-acoustic music by Vancouver Electronic Ensemble as part of the Vancouver New Music Festival.


Jürgen Partenheimer: The Archive – The Raven Diaries


Related Learning

Kimberly Phillips responds to the work of Jurgen Partenheimer. Director/Curator at Access Gallery, Phillips holds a doctorate in art history from the University of British Columbia, where she focused on the complexity of German collective memory as negotiated through ephemeral artistic interventions in the public realm of post-1989 Berlin. She is a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the University of British Columbia, where she teaches courses on the history of visual culture, cultural theory and curatorial practice. During her recent residency at 221A, she collaborated with Vanessa Kwan present a solo exhibition of work by Kara Uzelman accompanied by the publication Unknown Objects, featuring a text by the poet and essayist Lisa Robertson.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.


Feedback Series Talk | Kimberly Phillips


Related Learning

Anthropologist Bălășescu specializes in material culture, the body, consumption and cultural aspects of economy. He is the author of Paris Chic, Tehran Thrills, Aesthetic Bodies, Political Subjects (ZetaBooks, 2007) and taught at the National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest; American University in Paris; University of California, Irvine; Royal University for Women, Bahrain and Galatasaray University, Istanbul. He worked as deputy director for the Romanian Cultural Institute ‘Dimitrie Cantemir’ in Istanbul and is currently based in Vancouver, interested in urban ecology and social business models.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.


Feedback Series Talk | Alec Balasescu


Related Learning

Jürgen Partenheimer
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.


Video | Jürgen Partenheimer - Renga: Dimensions of Abstraction


Related Blog Posts

As well as the opening of the CAG’s new exhibition: Jürgen Partenheimer, The Archive – The Raven Diaries comes a new voice for the gallery’s blog!

Hello there I’m Chloe and though I’m new to you, I am not new to the gallery. In fact I’ve been here since 2012, when I first nervously stumbled through the Gallery doors in hopes of becoming a volunteer. Now almost 3 years later I’ve served not only as a volunteer, but as the gallery’s publicity intern and presently as communications intern where they’ve bestowed upon me enough trust to let me talk to you (via the blog of course). If you’re still a little apprehensive about the change, I’ll appease you by also letting you know that I’m studying in the arts field as a Critical and Cultural Practices major at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and that I’m about to graduate, which means I must be doing something right!

I’m very excited for you and I to start this journey together! Over the next few months we’ll be delving into the works of German artist Jürgen Partenheimer and Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg. We’ll also be going back into the CAG’s archives to take a look back on past exhibitions and how they play out in contemporary art today.

Let’s begin!

As it goes for most exhibition openings, you can feel the buzz of energy as you make your way into the gallery and through the crowds,walking past half empty catering trays and groups of art enthusiasts eagerly chatting away about what they’ve come to see. Partenheimer’s work presents itself ideal to this environment as, with the exception of a small sculptural piece and a plinth or two, his work takes the form of coffee book sized pieces of paper pinned to the wall.

Though the pieces are made out of a common material, it is what Partenheimer has added to the pages which draws you in. The works are full of abstract forms which, on their own seem to have very little context, yet once placed together within the same gallery space seem to play off one and other in a way that just makes sense. The artist has also been able to take his two dimensional paper canvases and bring them into the third dimension through his use of colour. The dark blacks pull the viewer into the piece, just as the neon oranges they are paired with pop right back out.

Along the wall, accompanying the pieces composed of abstracted painted lines, notes, from what seems to be a journal, are hung. What is interesting in their proximity is that, for viewers who are less familiar with the artists native language of German, these notes quickly begin to meld themselves to the pieces made up of abstract lines, becoming a sort of abstract composition themselves.

Partenheimer’s show is a great introduction to abstract art for those who are newer to the art scene, whilst also being of great interest for the veterans of the art world. A show which presents pleasantly curated pieces of which one can chose to enjoy for what they are as objects or get carried away into the role the play within contemporary art today.


In CAG Shop


368 pages

With his participation in the biennials of Paris, Venice and São Paulo, Jürgen Partenheimer is one of the most important German artists working today. With critical intelligence, Jürgen Partenheimer measures and maps the free space of art and its practice, which must constantly be redefined. As the artist's physical and psychological "storedom", the "archive" unites memories with the present and the individual with cultural recollection.

This book- designed in close collaboration with the artist - sheds light on various aspects of Partenheimer's multifaceted oeuvre that combines constructive elements of Minimal Art with lyrical intensity.

The publication contains text contributions by authors representing a variety of disciplines, written in German and English, they include Anne Carson, Lebogang Mashile, Carla Schulz-Hoffmann, Rudi Fuchs and Nigel Prince.

In 2014, the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, the Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver will present thematic exhibitions of Jürgen Partenheimer's work.


Jürgen Partenheimer - Das Archiv / The Archive


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