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Exhibitions

Guillaume Leblon
UNTANGLED FIGURES
October 14, 2016 to January 1, 2017
B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition by French artist Guillaume Leblon in a Canadian museum. His practice is characterized both by its diversity and the artist’s shrewd manipulation of space. While he creates powerful, discrete objects, films and paintings, the presentation in Vancouver choreographs his works into a larger spatial narrative within the gallery venue exuding a potent sense of ephemerality and the uncanny.

Creating fictional landscapes or altering an existing space has long been Leblon’s favoured technique for fuelling uncertainty and doubt in order to undermine the stark purity and perfect finish of the museum. At CAG Leblon transforms our gallery rooms with a major intervention. Plywood alterations to the floors and walls modify our perception of the space not only physically but also through the changes in acoustics, and so, by means of such a gesture of immediate and deft simplicity, we engage in a shared make-believe and the experience of a space redefined. Our awareness of the space is further shifted by a shelf that runs around the gallery wall perimeter, its changing height creating an odd disorientation disturbing our sense of sureness.

Interspersed among these new floor surfaces and along the sloping shelf is a selection of new and recent works which characteristically create a poetic universe, a world of its own, extending Leblon’s ongoing propositions with a more tangible figurative presence. We are transported into a different realm, embracing an active, mobile, open relationship with the world. Questions arise concerning established associations – historically, culturally and socially constructed – between the exceptional and the normal, the manufactured and the existent, the personal and impersonal, the ephemeral and the permanent, the old and the new, the dead and the alive. The gallery becomes a landscape, a site somewhere between what is almost known and barely known.

This atmosphere or narrative impulse is created in other ways too. Incorporating familiar objects into his sculptures, from tables and shelves to industrial materials and processes such as plywood and casting, Leblon presents enigmatic constructions and subtly affected combinations which have a powerful, seductive, material presence. While his works refuse a single reading, Leblon having a non-hierarchical approach to his materials, they often conjure images of the ruin and the passage of time, the notion of the vanitas bringing the present and the past into contact. Leblon transforms everyday components into sculptures that attain a relic-like quality or the aura of a classical statue.

For this new exhibition Leblon brings together a group of works that evoke the suggestive potential of the body through the material and image of the resolved pieces themselves. A blank face without features, detached arms without hands, a clothed torso; each of these new evocative sculptures comprises a sort of shell or envelope for an absent body, a hollow core that speaks to questions of memory, dreams, fragmentation and possibility. This body of work also marks a transition in process and materials for Leblon. Over the years, the artist has shifted from working with found materials, remnants and organic matter to foundry work in materials like aluminum, marble and sand. Always invested in temporal concerns, Leblon sees this mutation in process as a transformation of the work’s relationship to time.

While absence of the body is suggested, sometimes an imprint reveals a human form with shapeless contours, where the body is sensed by the viewer, or clothing and other fragments are employed where, ironically, there may remain traces of cigar ashes or of wear. The sculptures perform like characters within some larger narrative. Likely Political Circumstances (2016) is a man’s jacket hovering phantom-like above dismembered arms as if held upright by an invisible thread, a scene of some violent action; Brother and Brother II (both 2016) both present a vessel form, also suggestive of hollowed out partial skulls, evoking a sliced through container whereby we might contemplate its former function or the potential to hold something be it matter or an idea.

This interest in transformations manifests itself in works that hint at a kind of alchemy for the artist. In these new works, Leblon uses forms that are made from hand blown glass or newer technologies, for the first time producing objects using 3D printing, the final sculptures retaining textural and visual evidence of its original humble material. Despite Leblon’s notionally post-apocalyptic world his installations and collections of sculptures teem not only with innumerable, partially perceptible thoughts, but also with movement and life.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Institut Français and the Consulate général de France in Vancouver.

The exhibition is generously supported by Jane Irwin and Ross Hill.

Guillaume Leblon was born in Lille, France and currently lives and works in New York. Selected solo exhibitions include carlier | gebauer, Berlin (2016); Panorama, Marseille (2015); MassMoCA, North Adams; Institut d’Art Contemporain (IAC) Villeurbanne; Galerie Projecte SD, Barcelona; Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris (2014); Contemporary Art Museum of Sérignan, France (2012); Fondation Paul Ricard, Paris (2011); Le grand café, Centre d’art contemporain, Saint-Nazaire (2010); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2009); Centre d’art contemporain Culturgest, Porto;  Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporaneo, CGAC, Santiago de Compostela (2008); Kunstverein Düsseldorf; Centre d’art contemporain – Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France (2006), amongst many others. Leblon has participated in group exhibitions, most recently at Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Paris and Brussels; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Biennale de Lyon; Secession, Vienna; Bétonsalon, Paris; Gallery LABOR, Mexico City; Kunsthalle Saint-Gallen; Museum MARTa, Herford; Le Plateau, FRAC Ile de France, Paris; Fridericianum, Kassel; and CAC Vilnius. In 2011 he was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp, Paris.

Leblon is represented by Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris; carlier | gebauer, Berlin and Galerie Projecte SD, Barcelona.

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Guillaume Leblon - UNTANGLED FIGURES


Keg de Souza
Appetite for Construction
September 10 to November 4, 2016
Off-site: 544 Main Street, Vancouver

Upcoming events:
Drop in hours: 1-5pm
Last weekend – Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30

Closing reception: Friday, November 4, 6-9pm.

We welcome back to Vancouver Australian artist Keg de Souza, on her final visit to the city, de Souza presents a public project exploring food culture as a metaphor for urban displacement. Throughout October, de Souza will operate from a temporary space in the former Park Lock Dim Sum/Seafood Restaurant on the second floor of 544 Main Street in Chinatown. From this location she will initiate a food mapping installation developed via a series of public events, workshops and discussions centered on this disused space, the last original building standing on the corner of Main and Keefer.

Participants are invited to contribute items that represent the changing urban fabric of the Chinatown/DTES area through its food culture. Each participant’s items will be vacuum bagged and used to create a tile in the construction of a temporary structure within the Chinatown space. The numerous vacuum bags will create a patchwork surface that represents various community members, and their insights into local food culture and gentrification. Items could range from: menus from new upmarket establishments; packaging from iconic restaurants of the area, soup kitchen fliers, info on urban farming or even something grown from an urban farm.  In Vancouver, De Souza is developing 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.

Over the past eighteen months de Souza has been conducting research in Vancouver hosting a series of events experimenting with tactics of public engagement. In 2015, her handmade inflatable dome became a temporary space at the Burrard Marina Field House for a public picnic engaging Canadian colonial narratives via a consideration of national food traditions. Meeting with local chefs, food activists and residents de Souza prepared a truly Canadian feast as a source for an afternoon of unfolding dialogue that the artist mapped directly onto the floor of the dome. A starting point for the discussion was the ephemerality of the event itself. De Souza hosted a second event, an urban foraging expedition culminating in jam making, experimental mapping and a discussion exploring local foods, cultural preservation and the continuing effects of colonization in contemporary Vancouver. The event featured two local guest collaborators, Lori Snyder, an Indigenous Herbalist specializing in urban foraging for wild, edible and medicinal plants; and Lori’s partner, Steve Snyder, a master jam maker for the last 15 years. This two-day event began with a foraging tour led by Lori Snyder focusing on the native blackberry, the introduced blackberry and other native plants. Participants foraged on the banks surrounding the Field House which are covered with wild Himalayan Blackberries — an invasive, ‘colonizing,’ non-native species in Vancouver. On the second day, Steve Synder led a jam making session with the foraged berries. While communally making jam, de Souza led a discussion focused on the act of preserving these locally dominant berries, questioning whose culture is in fact preserved and how this can be linked to colonial narratives. This discussion culminated in an experimental mapping of the dialogue.

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.

Recent exhibitions include; Redfern School of Displacement for the 20th Biennale of Sydney; Abundance: Fruit of the Sea, Bounty of the Mountains for the 2016 Setouchi Triennale (2016). Temporary Spaces, Edible Places: Vancouver and Preservation, Contemporary Art Gallery; Temporary Spaces, Edible Places: New York, AC Institute, New York (2015). Temporarily in Architecture, Food and Communities, Delfina Foundation, London; Temporary Spaces, Edible Places, Atlas Arts, Isle of Skye, Scotland; If There’s Something Strange In Your Neighbourhood … Ratmakan Kampung, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2014). The 5th Auckland Triennial, 15th Jakarta Biennale and Vertical Villages at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2013).

This project is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. With special thanks to Left of Main.

The Field House Studio is an off-site artist residency space and community hub organized by the Contemporary Art Gallery. This program moves beyond conventional exhibition making, echoing the founding origins of the gallery where artists were offered support toward the production of new work, while reaching out to communities and offering new ways for individuals to encounter and connect with art and artists. Running parallel to the residency program were an ongoing series of public events for all ages. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver, along with many private and individual donors. For 2016–2019 we acknowledge the generous support for the Field House Studio Residency Program by the Vancouver Foundation.

Follow the Field House blog at www.burrardmarinafieldhouse.wordpress.com

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Off-site: Keg de Souza - Appetite for Construction


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


Haroon Mirza
Entheogens
January 13 to March 19, 2017
B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries

Opening: Thursday, January 12, 7-9pm

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada by British artist Haroon Mirza.

Mirza has received international acclaim for work that tests the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current. Kinetic sculptures, performances and immersive installations purposefully cross wired. An advocate of interference (in the sense of electro-acoustic or radio disruption), he creates situations in which he describes his role as a composer, manipulating electricity, a live, invisible and volatile phenomenon calling on instruments as varied as household electronics, vinyl and turntables, LEDs, furniture, video footage and existing artworks by other artists to behave differently.

The exhibition will centre on a series of new and recent works linked to various plants such as Lophophora williamsii, (Peyote), Psilocybe (mushrooms) and Echinopsis pachanoi (San Pedro cactus) known worldwide as supplements to various transcendence practices through their psychotropic qualities, and used for spiritual purposes including meditation and psychedelic psychotherapy. As such the exhibition invites us to consider perceptual shifts, disorientating environments and displacements of light and sound that create delirious moments as we unwittingly interfere with altering signals and appearances.

First made for PIVO in Brazil in May-July 2016, ããã takes over much of our BC Binning Gallery. Developed during a two-month residency in São Paulo, captured images and sounds from the city combine as four videos and eight channels of electric signal visualised through strips of LED light and heard via an array of speakers all in synchronization. The videos reflect on a heady mix of the current political climate in Brazil, the local culture of music, entheogens (plants that have psychedelic properties like the ones used in Ayahuasca) and developments in physics and cosmology, while the overall experience of the work collectively creates a mesmerizing visual and aural effect. Alongside this installation are  series of new pieces consisting of framed copper plates printed and acid etched using various methods including passing an electrical current through plant forms such as Psilocybe cubensis, Amanita muscaria, resting atop the plates. Amanita for example, is a mushroom genus noted for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. The mushroom was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia, and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on the possible traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in other places; in the works, the phantom-like images are indelibly fixed into the metal surface, akin so some kind of vision or half-remembered experience.

The copper in these pieces, normally the raw material in the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCB), also appears along with commercial solar panels in the relief works presented in our Balkind Gallery. Powered by energy from our gallery lights, both Five Liberty Caps (Solar Powered LED Circuit Composition 25) (2015) and Liberty Cap (Solar Powered LED Circuit Composition 27) (2015) comprise Psilocybe semilanceata imprinted copper plates used to complete the circuit, with the solar panels powering the LEDs. As part of their composition, therefore, these wall works involve the mushroom, commonly known as the liberty cap, a psychedelic (or “magic”) mushroom that contains the psychoactive compounds psilocybin, baeocystin and phenylethylamine. Of the world’s psilocybin mushrooms, it is both one of the most widely distributed in nature, and one of the most potent.

Together with these are other new works combining recycled furniture, solar panels, lights and various plant forms that have also have psychotropic qualities. For example, Lophophora williamsii or peyote is a small, spineless cactus containing psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline and is one of the sacred and sought after cactus known to have been used for shamanic ceremonies for over five thousands of years. LED Circuit Composition 18 (Self-Transforming Machine) (2016) references Terence McKenna, an American ethnobotanist, mystic, psychonaut and author, and advocate for the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic plants. His experiments with hallucinogens are linked to the experience of viewing the work, named after the supernatural entities encountered during his Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) experiences.

Lamp for Williamsii (2016) is a sculptural assemblage involving a speaker from The National pavilion of Then and Now, a chair, a plastic cover for a civil aviation authority lamp from Emley Moor radio tower, cable, circuit board, Moroccan antique wooden door arch with Iraqi stained glass, and three  Big Bend Peyotes. It is designed to provide the perfect lighting conditions for the plant to grow requiring certain frequencies of light which are visible to the human eye along with blue and red light. More blue light is required than red so Mirza has created a sequence to calibrate the LED lights to the correct ratio using various electronic processes such as pulse width modulation. Such processes were also used in early electronic instruments and as the electrical signal from the LEDs is also amplified through a triangular speaker incorporated as a plinth, the electricity can be heard. The sound composition is therefore dictated by the lighting requirements of the plant.

Changing light conditions in the LEDs and the movement of visitors to the gallery will cause fluctuations in the light signals received by the solar panels across all of these pieces, a metaphor for the transformative properties that can occur through ingesting the plant forms. Processes are left exposed and sounds will occupy space in an unruly way, testing codes of conduct and charging the atmosphere whereby Mirza asks us to reconsider the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music, and draws into question the categorization of cultural forms. The exhibition presents a truly hypnotic and transformatory experience.

The exhibition is generously supported by Brigitte and Henning Freybe.

Haroon Mirza lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘ããã’, Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil (2016); Nam June Paik Center, Seoul, South Korea ; Matadero, Madrid, Spain; Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland (all 2015); Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland; Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, Poissy, France; IMMA, Dublin, Ireland; Le Grand Palais, Saint-Nazaire, France (all 2014); The Hepworth, Wakefield, UK; MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK (2013); The New Museum, New York, USA; Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, USA (all 2012); Camden Arts Centre, London and Spike Island, Bristol (2011) and A-Foundation, Liverpool, UK (2009). His work was included in the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China (2012) and the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011), where he was awarded the Silver Lion. He was awarded the Northern Art Prize in 2011, the DAIWA Foundation Art Prize in 2012, the Zurich Art Prize in 2013, the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize in 2014 and the Calder Art Prize in 2015.

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Haroon Mirza - Entheogens


Erdem Taşdelen

Wild Child 
Events Room 

The Quantified Self Poems
Window spaces

January 13 to March 19, 2017

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents two new works by Toronto-based Turkish artist Erdem Taşdelen.

Commissioned by the Contemporary Art Gallery with Cineworks, Wild Child, presented in CAG’s events room, is an ambitious two-part video installation which takes as its starting point An Historical Account of the Discovery and Education of a Savage Man by Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, a physician who decided to care for a feral boy found in Aveyron, France in 1798. Convinced that he could “civilize” the boy by teaching him language, Itard was left frustrated in his attempts to make the boy transcend his so-called savagery when he proved incapable of learning to speak.

In Wild Child Taşdelen adapts this story, this time set in contemporary British Columbia and presented through two distinct elements. One video depicts preparations for an imagined filmed documentary, featuring twelve actors as they audition for the roles of its main characters. This is accompanied by a second piece, a sequence of images of a forest depicting “nature” in a supposedly unmediated manner. Devoid of any human activity, it provides the viewer with a space of contemplation in contrast to the interactions portrayed between performers, crew and writer/director.

Presented in our windows is The Quantified Self Poems, a new series of twelve screen prints. Over a period of three months in the summer of 2016, Taşdelen reported his moods approximately three times a day on “Emotion Sense”, a self-improvement smartphone app developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK. As he answered a series of questions the artist’s feelings were numerically encoded as data, effectively quantifying the unquantifiable. Working with programmer Ali Bilgin Arslan, Taşdelen developed an algorithm that translated this information into words drawn from a unique dictionary created by Vancouver-based poet Daniel Zomparelli. Unusual sentences emerge from which we attempt to make some kind of sense.

Each work exposes the dynamics at play through differing representations of human nature. Notionally objective realities conflate with fiction in a self-referential manner that deliberately befuddles the viewer; the familiar made compelling strange.

Wild Child is commissioned by Contemporary Art Gallery with Cineworks and is supported by BC Arts Council.

The Quantified Self Poems is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and produced with thanks to Daniel Zomparelli and Ali Bilgin Arslan.

Erdem Taşdelen lives and works in Toronto. His multidisciplinary practice involves a range of media including installation, video, drawing, sculpture, sound and artist books. He has shown extensively internationally and across Canada, including exhibitions at Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver; Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg (2016); Stacion Center for Contemporary Art, Kosovo; Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul (2015); Galeri NON, Istanbul; Western Front, Vancouver; Kunstverein Hannover; Biennial of the Americas, Denver; ARTER, Istanbul; Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; MAK, Vienna (2013); 221A, Vancouver and Oakville Galleries (2012).

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Erdem Tasdelen - Wild Child


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