May 1 to June 28, 2015
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the second part of a new commission in 2015 with Canadian artist Shannon Bool. Bool typically references a wide variety of art historical objects in her work, 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 cultural forms. Central to her practice is the paradoxical examination of the depth and psychological weight that surfaces carry, which she underlines in unorthodox material processes.
Located near to the gallery entrance is Michelangelo’s Place, the final version in a series of carrara marble benches Bool has recently produced. The sculpture references the benches found circling the elevated Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, built in 1869 to showcase copies of Michelangelo’s most famous works and to provide a panoramic view of the city.
At the Contemporary Art Gallery, Bool’s sculpture references the benches’ scale and appropriates the graffiti that covers them. The graffiti, some of which is over 100 years old and ranges from tourist scribbles, love declarations and Italy’s first Labour Party, is mirrored to emphasize its materialization and the artist’s handwork. These energetic gestures of incision, gouging and defacing subvert the benches’ functionality by drawing attention to the individual experiences of the Piazzale’s visitors who chose to leave their own marks instead of consuming the magnificent views of the renaissance. The carrara marble, signifying wealth and high renaissance material values is subjected instead to the every day banality of Florentine life and tourism, where the public turns away from its master narrative and carves its own signature.
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 (2015); The Klöntal Triennale, Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2014); Soft Pictures, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaugengo, Turin (2013); Painting Forever!, KW, Berlin (2013); Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto (2013); the Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2012); 7×14, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; 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 The National Gallery of Canada, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Fondazione Sandretto, Turin, 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.
Located near to the gallery entrance, Michelangelo’s Place is the final version in a series of marble benches Bool has recently produced. The sculpture references the benches found circling the elevated Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, Italy built in 1869 to showcase copies of Michelangelo’s most famous works and to provide a stunning panoramic view of the city. Working in Vancouver for three weeks prior to the opening, Bool reproduced the exact graffiti that covers some of the benches.
Read on for a behind-the-scenes report by CAG Program Assistant, Jas Lally on the delicate installation of the new sculptural commission Michelangelo’s Place by Berlin-based, Comox, BC born artist Shannon Bool:
On the day of the installation of Michelangelo’s Place, Shannon and I had many phone calls back and forth with each other trying to come up with a Plan B, because it had been raining ALL DAY! We were lucky that a few hours before the install the sun came out and we were able to prep the dry ground – who knew Bianca Carrara marble was such a finicky material.
When the pieces arrived, the bench looked much bigger than I thought it was going to be. The four legs were easy to carry and place in front of the CAG, but when it came to the bench top things got a little more tricky. The top had to be balanced on a dolly that looked like a unicycle! I could see Shannon and assistant Teal holding onto the sides of the bench top for dear life as it was steered down the sidewalk with passerby’s giving us very curious looks.With the bench legs positioned in the perfect spot the top was affixed, then with the right amount of glue the job was done. I was surprised how easily and quickly all the pieces came together.
The bench has been installed for a week now and visitors have been engaging with the bench by taking a moment to sit on it and read some of the one hundred year old Italian graffiti. Even all the little furry friends in the neighbourhood have been giving the bench curious sniffs!If you haven’t already, stop by and take a moment to sit on the bench and visit also Julia Dault’s exhibition Blame It On the Rain!
– Jas LallyMORE