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Exhibitions

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


Jochen Lempert
Field Guide
May 6 to July 17, 2016

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first major museum exhibition in Canada devoted to the celebrated German photographer Jochen Lempert. Trained as a biologist, Lempert photographs plants, animals and other natural phenomena with both scientific acumen and a poetic appreciation of natural beauty. His approach is scientific as well as humorous. Always working in black and white, his work engages with a diverse range of subjects and genres, ranging from everyday views to abstracted details. Photographic series alternate with single pictures, highly contrasted images with almost blank papers, through which multiple links and subtle associations are woven.

Ranging from medium-sized to small and tiny prints, the exhibition comprises Lempert’s now classic repertoire of flora and fauna, and focuses on a range of work produced over the last five years that examines the indexical nature of photography itself, notions of time and connections to the history of image making, mutability, classification and materiality. The subject of interest of Lempert’s work—animal life—is complemented by his exploration of the properties and materiality of the photographic image, as revealed in its developing and printing processes. While seemingly serendipitous, Lempert nevertheless pursues a very clear goal and aesthetic. His is a very careful, subtle world.

In Vancouver the exhibition is generously supported by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. Organized by the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver in collaboration with the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Jochen Lempert lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. Selected solo exhibitions include Cincinnati Art Museum (2015); ProjecteSD, Barcelona, Spain; Overbeck-Gesellschaft Verein von Kunstfreunden e.V., Lübeck, Germany; Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, Germany (2014); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico; Norma Mangione gallery, Torino, Italy (2013); Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; Rochester Art Center, Rochester (2012); Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Front Room. Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Saint Louis (2010); Domaine de Kerguéhennec Centre d’Art Contemporain, Bignan, France; Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal (2009). His work has recently been included in group exhibitions at Fotomuseum Antwerp, Belgium; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Germany; Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna, Austria; Fondation D’Enterprise Ricard, Paris; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Marian Goodman, Paris; Biennial for Contemporary Art; FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, France; Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany; Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany; and the Paris Triennial, amongst many others. His work is held in many public collections including: Fundació „La Caixa“, Barcelona, Spain; Colección Banco de España, Madrid, Spain; CNAP, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, France; FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, France; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; Fondation Norac, Rennes, France; Les Abbatoirs–Musée d’art modern et contemporain and Frac Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France; Museum Ludwig Köln; Museum Folkwang Essen; and Kunstmuseum Bonn, amongst many others. In 2005 Lempert was the winner of the Edwin-Scharff Preis, Hamburg and was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014. He is represented by ProjecteSD, Barcelona.

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Jochen Lempert - Field Guide


To the Shore
May 7 to July 17, 2016
Events Room

In 2015, the Contemporary Art Gallery inaugurated a new annual award for an emerging artist from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts.

This spring we present To the Shore by 2015 award recipient Anchi Lin, her first solo exhibition. In this single channel video Lin enacts the sound of waves hitting a shoreline through the simple act of sweeping. Rooted in recollection and memory of place, the work playfully explores domestic routines drawing attention to the meditative quality of action while the audience and the performer transcend their physical reality.

Anchi Lin obtained her BFA in Visual Arts at Simon Fraser University in 2015. Her work has manifested within the realm of performance and video art. Concepts such as language and gender are the basis of her practice while Lin’s Taiwanese aboriginal background has invariably been the catalyst for her examination of identity and cultural norms. Her work continues to navigate realms that fall between individual and collective consciousness.

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Anchi Lin - To the Shore


Window Spaces

Wrapping around the gallery building, the new commission Some words, some more words (2016) by British artist duo John Wood and Paul Harrison, continues their ongoing investigation into the world that surrounds us, the objects we encounter and use daily, and our fundamental engagement with the physical universe in all its sometime or seemingly futile existence. Characteristically playful, phrases are deliberately juxtaposed and positioned against each other to create a fragmentary narrative, drawing our attention to the familiar made strange by altering perceptions of the surrounding architecture and revealing the what and how of how we read language.

John Wood and Paul Harrison live and work in Bristol, UK. Notable solo exhibitions include Von Bartha, Basel; NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; Carroll/Fletcher, London (2015); Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, Columbia (2014); Frist Centre, Nashville, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2011-12); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland; University of California, Santa Barbara (2010); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2009); PICA, Perth (2008); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK (2005); Tate Britain, London; MoMA, New York; MIT, Boston (2004) and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2002).

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John Wood and Paul Harrison - Some words, some more words


John Wood and Paul Harrison
I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT
February 12 to April 24, 2016
B.C. Binning Gallery and windows

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada by British duo John Wood and Paul Harrison. Their practice unfolds as a way of observing the human condition, an ongoing investigation into the world that surrounds us, the objects we encounter and use daily, and our fundamental engagement with the physical universe in all its sometime or seemingly futile existence.

Comprising various everyday objects, drawings, photographs and videos, the exhibition provides a survey detailing recent propositions for the artists where narrative comes seeping in: taste, politics, aspiration, planning, individual and collective dreaming and ambition appear, literally and metaphorically, opening up on to the world outside. Time, as perceived in an action on video, lengthens from seconds into decades within the sculptural forms, and the focus widens from a momentary encounter in a studio to a project in a landscape or a vision of things to come. As viewers we become implicated in their tragicomic world of absurdist humour leading to both simultaneous delight and sombre reflection on the failures of human endeavour.

The installation contains a selection of new sculptures using tools, drawing equipment and other useful items in various media. For example, two propelling pencils share a single lead; another pencil has been sharpened right down to the rubber end and remains housed in its sharpener; a length of string is measured against a ruler; two balls of string, one un-wound then re-wound, the other original, and a single glue stick, stuck head first onto a wall. The humour is dry and the jokes visual; the familiar made strange by altering perceptions.

Connecting these sculptural works is a selection of videos, typical of their practice while sharing a pared-down set of qualities. 10×10 (2011) and Semi Automatic Painting Machine (2014) deconstruct the very nature of the moving image and its means of presentation, investigating narrative structure, representation, transformation and the history of cinematic worlds through various devices that reference both digital and analogue production. Their most recent video Erdkunde (2015) playfully connects out from the studio into the “real” world. By encompassing a world of things it causes us to reconsider the sculptures on show and the geography these suggest, an essential optimism within the futility of ongoing attempts, a testament to our ability to overcome obstacles, to forge ahead for a better world.

Long has Wood and Harrison’s work being concerned with the body, characteristically employing a vocabulary that connects into the spatial concerns and material world of choreography and contemporary dance, and is a practice that engages with attributes such as trust, cause and effect, action and reaction, and the physical arena and dimensions in which movement and gesture occurs. To this end, alongside the exhibition we will premiere a major new live performance later this year, a first for Wood and Harrison, who are  working with Ballet BC to develop an ambitious joint commission, a new dance work, complete with movement, direction, costumes and staging.

The art-dance commission is produced in collaboration with Ballet BC with support in part from the Kickstarter community in partnership with Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative.

John Wood and Paul Harrison live and work in Bristol, UK. They have many notable solo exhibitions including Von Bartha, Basel; NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; Carroll/Fletcher, London (2015); Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, Columbia (2014); Frist Centre, Nashville, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2011-12); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland; University of California, Santa Barbara (2010); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2009); PICA, Perth (2008); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK (2005); Tate Britain, London; MoMA, New York; MIT, Boston (2004) and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2002). They have also participated in group exhibitions worldwide: Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2015); OK Centre for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria; Tokyo Station Gallery; Itami City Museum of Art; Kochi Museum of Art; Okayama Museum of Art (2014); Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (2013); MOBY, Israel; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2011); Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (2010); Ludwig Museum, Budapest (2008); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2007); Hayward Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris (2006); Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh (2005); Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2002); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2003); Philadelphia Museum of Art (1998) among others. Work is held in various public collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA, New York; Ludwig Collection, Aachen; Tel Aviv Museum; Kadist Foundation, Paris and Tate, London. John Wood and Paul Harrison are represented by Carroll/Fletcher, London; Von Bartha, Basel; Martine Aboucaya, Paris and Vera Cortes, Lisbon.

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John Wood and Paul Harrison - I DIDN'T KNOW I DIDN'T KNOW IT


Patrick Staff
The Foundation
February 12 to April 24, 2016
Alvin Balkind Gallery and off-site

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents The Foundation, a new and expansive body of work by artist Patrick Staff, their first solo exhibition in Canada. The project, which centres around a major film installation but also comprises sculpture, print, and text, explores queer intergenerational relationships as they are negotiated through a body of historical materials. The film combines footage shot at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles—home to the archive of the erotic artist and gay icon and a community of people that care for it—with choreographic sequences shot within a specially constructed set.

The legacy of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), better known as Tom of Finland, spans multiple generations; his work made a considerable impact on masculine representation and imagery in post-war gay culture. The foundation was established in 1984 by Tom and his friend Durk Dehner to preserve his vast catalogue of homoerotic art, whilst endeavouring to – to quote the organization’s website – ‘educate the public to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality.’ Today, Durk runs the organization and lives in the house, along with a handful of other employees and artists.

Rather than focusing on Tom of Finland’s work, Staff’s film evokes the foundation as a set of relations. It explores how a collection is formed and constituted and the communities that produce and are produced by a body of work. Through observational footage of the house, its collections and inhabitants, the foundation is revealed as a domestic environment, a libidinal space, an archive, an office and a community centre; a private space which is also the home of a public-facing organization and the source of a widely dispersed body of images. In the work, Staff foregrounds their own identity and personal dialogue with the different communities of the foundation to consider how ideas of inheritance and exchange are complicated by gender identity and presentation; in this context, of a younger trans person within a context dominated by the overtly masculine, male identity of an older generation. The documentary style footage of the foundation is intercut with a series of scenes, which are shot in a set incorporating aspects of the building’s architecture and technologies and operate within the register of experimental theatre. These sequences, featuring interactions with an older actor, use choreography and prop to explore the body as a site for the construction and deconstruction of subjectivities.

Through a varied, interdisciplinary and often collaborative body of  work comprising film, dance and performance, Staff considers ideas of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer body, frequently drawing on the historical narration of counter-culture, radical activity and alternative forms of community building. This new work is the product of several years’ research and dialogue with the Tom of Finland Foundation and is Staff’s most ambitious and large-scale project to date, bringing together languages of film and live performance with sculptural materiality to explore the body as a political, living archive. The Foundation explores the complexities of cultural artifacts and collective identities, via an examination of ownership, appropriation, responsibility and desire.

For Vancouver CAG has developed a new broadsheet publication and an associated film screening event co-programmed by Staff with Canadian curator and writer Robin Simpson. Continuing the format of Staff’s recent screening-performances Dreams of Travel (2014) and Uniform Smoke (2015), this expanded public programming brings together a number of voices that generate resonances with the politics and interpersonal relationships that constitute the project, rather than describing or fixing the meaning of the work. Grounded within a Canadian context, it seeks to forge a connection among Trans/Queer contexts, production, dialogues and communities. The broadsheet contains specially commissioned texts by Juliet Jacques, Paige Sarlin and Staff and Simpson and will be distributed city wide, in Vancouver, as well as in Toronto via defunct Xtra newspaper boxes.

The Foundation is co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Co-produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol.

With thanks to the Tom of Finland Foundation.
The Foundation is supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, The Elephant Trust and the Genesis Prize.
The broadsheet publication and screening project is supported by The British Council.

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Patrick Staff - The Foundation


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