The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new neon commission across our building façade with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, as part of a larger partnership of presentations, performances and events with British artist Tim Etchells. Arguably best known for his work with Forced Entertainment, Etchells has developed his own practice as an artist outside of their ground-breaking performances, his solo work is diverse, moving from a base in performance into visual art and fiction. Through writing, producing neon, video and text, collaborations with the photographer Hugo Glendinning on photographic work, and performance projects with an ever-expanding group of artists from around the world, including Franko B and Vlatka Horvat, Etchells opens up new possibilities to approach related ideas via different routes by working across these different media and contexts.
In all aspects of his practice Etchells is often concerned with live-ness and presence, with the unfolding of events in time and place. The site where things happen could be an LCD monitor or a computer screen, a stage, the space of a page, a gallery, a found location, a street, or some private space — a room or a car for instance — in which a person might listen to the radio or read a text. Who Knows is typical of Etchells’ approach in that something happens — there is an encounter, a process, the unfolding of an event and its implications, and an exploration of the dynamic relationship between the work and the viewer. Who Knows reveals a fascination with rules and systems in language and in culture, in the way these structures are both productive and constraining. Individual phrases of ‘I know’, ‘You know’, ‘We know’, ‘They know’, produces a playfully paranoid flavour, yet a tone that takes on something of the surveillance, snooping, watching topic, that’s even more on our minds since the information leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in May of last year. Through the repetition of phrases, the text stages or implies an event or an idea that is at once unravelled and assembled. The mechanisms and economies of this process — of exposure and concealment, construction and deconstruction, appearance and disappearance — are at the heart of what Etchells does.
In addition to this installation we co-present a series of performances — The Quiet Volume with Ant Hampton and Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First with Jim Fletcher — and public talks involving Etchells detailed elsewhere in this bulletin. Collectively these form our hosting of Tim Etchells as PuSh Festival 2014 artist-in-residence. Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver.
Born in 1962, Tim Etchells is based in Sheffield and London, UK and is the artistic director of Forced Entertainment, a theatre company founded in 1984. With Forced Entertainment he has directed, written, and occasionally performed in, dozens of critically acclaimed performance works that have been shown at major festivals and theatres around the world.
Recent solo exhibitions include Sketch and Butchers (both London); Netherlands Media Art Institute and de Appel, Amsterdam; Void Spaces, Site Gallery, Sheffield; Sparwasser HQ, Berlin; Art Sheffield 2008; ArtFutures, Bloomberg SPACE, London; Exit Art, New York; Kunsthaus Graz; Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy; Acts of Voicing, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Aichi Triennale, Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya and Lonely at the Top: Modern Dialect, MuHKA, Antwerp. Etchells co-curated and commissioned work in the Performing Sculpture section of the DLA Piper series This is Sculpture at Tate Liverpool (2009) and took part in the Gothenburg International Biennale, What a Wonderful World; After Architecture, CASM, Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona and The Malady of Writing, MACBA, Barcelona in 2009. His books include a critical exploration of contemporary performance and theatre as well as an introduction to his work with Forced Entertainment titled Certain Fragments (Routledge, 1999), a book of short stories, Endland Stories (Pulp Books, 1998), an ironic dream dictionary, The Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer (Duckworth, 2004), and a novel titled The Broken World (Windmill, 2009).
Tuesday, March 11, 7pm
Margaret Dragu is a key figure in Vancouver’s art community, with a practice encompassing video, installation, web-based projects, publications and performance. Dragu is integral to the development of performance art in Canada and was the first subject of FADO’s Performance Art Legends series in 2000. In 2012 she was awarded the Governor General award for Visual Art & Media. Her performances are relational, durational, interventionist and community-based often enacting various personae to explore history, memory and performance in the everyday. Most recently Richmond Art Gallery presented Dragu’s first Gallery-based solo exhibition, VERB WOMAN: the wall is in my head/a dance of forgetting. Dragu will respond to the performance work of Tim Etchells.
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.MORE
Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First
Monday, January 20 , 7 pm, by donation
The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main Street
Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First, written and directed by Tim Etchells, is a long free-associating
monologue that tumbles from topic to topic to create a vast, failing iteration and explanation of the world. Comical in its apparent naivety and preposterously encyclopedic in scope, the piece explores the absurdity and horror of consciousness as it tries and fails to seize and define everything that it encounters. Performed by Jim Fletcher, legendary New York actor, best known for his work with Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players and Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz, the monumental, word-for- word, eight hour staging of Fitzgerald’s prose masterwork. Join us post-performance for a drink and a conversation with Jim Fletcher and Tim Etchells, hosted by Norman Armour, Artistic and Executive Director of PuSh, in the newly renovated Fox Cabaret.
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.MORE
Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells
The Quiet Volume
January 17–19, 24–26, 31, February 1– 2
12–5 pm ( 60 minutes, no intermission)
Performances every 20 minutes, last performance 4: 05pm
Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch
3rd Floor, 350 West Georgia Street
In The Quiet Volume — set at the library, designed for two at a time — recorded instructions and a stack of carefully selected books direct you through this contemplative, self-generated performance. The Quiet Volume takes what is considered a deeply personal and internal process and pushes it out into the surrounding environment so that one reader’s sphere collides with another’s. It exposes the particular tension common to libraries worldwide: a combination of silence and concentration within which different peoples’ experiences of reading unfold. In this performance, you and your co-reader/fellow audience member study printed words, conjure mental images, examine the act of reading in a new light in this surprising piece of ‘autoteatro.’ For the bibliophile and reluctant reader alike, The Quiet Volume exposes the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience.
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and supported by Vancouver Public Library.MORE
Tuesday, January 21, 4 .30 pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
In conjunction with the exhibition Who Knows, we join forces with PuSh to host Tim Etchells as a PuSh Festival artist-in-residence and embrace the full scope of his practice. Whether, on stage or off, Etchells is concerned with liveness and presence and with the unfolding of events in time and place. At the centre of many of his projects, produced solely or with Forced Entertainment, there is a fascination with rules and systems in language, and in culture, and the way these systems are both productive and constraining. This artist talk forms a keynote
address as part of PuSh Assembly. Presented with PuSh International Performing Festival.
Hi everyone, my name is Sojin. I’m a recent Visual Arts graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). During my studies at ECUAD I began to develop my interest in curatorial practice. I’m particularly interested in the idea of space both in its physical and metaphysical (re)presentation. Creating unity out of fractured pieces and coming up with a narrative of my own is what I enjoy the most about curating. Besides my curatorial interest, I also paint and sculpt! For the past two years, I’ve worked with Vancouver’s experimental galleries and artist run centres to study how galleries function. For this year I’ll be working at the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) as Program Assistant, assisting the CAG team with the highly anticipated public programs and further learning about galleries in depth.
My first week of work was action-packed. For the first couple of days, I studied the two current exhibitions—Aurélien Froment Fröbel Fröbeled and Tim Etchells Who Knows. I had an opportunity to glimpse at how the exhibitions are organized from scratch by being involved in the process, you will be surprised to know the amount of time and effort it takes to actualize an exhibition. In the last few days of the week I helped staff and volunteers with the packing of Mungo Thomson and Erin Shirreff publications for them to be shipped to the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, which the CAG is participating in.
There always is a bitter emptiness when art works are taken down from gallery walls. The spatial emptiness was particularly evident in the de-install of James Welling’s show since the exhibition itself was quite bodily in its presentation. As you can see from the pictures above, Welling’s works were packed up into crates, leaving only the skeletal structure of the walls that once embodied the energetic volume and rhythm of the corpus. The memory lingered on me for a while.
In no time at all the new crates arrived, walls were painted white, but more importantly, the artist Aurélien Froment arrived. During the conversation I had with Nigel Prince, the Director of the CAG, I was able to imagine the new exhibitions viscerally. For Fröbel Fröbeled, the gallery is divided into two different spaces, one for adults and the other for children; Fröbel’s Gifts will also be displayed on plinths for public interaction. Fröbel, a founder of kindergarten and an inventor of the Play Gifts, will be introduced with photographs. When you come see the show, it is important to understand that these Gifts are not just cylinders, spheres, square blocks and strings, but are creative tools to (re)imagine oneself in relation to the Universe or to something much more expansive. Meanwhile, the building’s façade features a new neon commission by British artist Tim Etchells. The façade is set up with twenty-two phrases of single line block neon letters stating ‘I KNOW, ‘YOU KNOW’, ‘WE KNOW’, ‘THEY KNOW’. The short sinister statements along with vibrant neon colours makes it seem like you are standing in front of someone who is looking deep inside you. Full of character and attitude, Etchell’s neon works bring out an eerie but comical atmosphere to the neighborhood. The display sparks with theatricality in the text with the very act of reading and further investigates the idea of surveillance with humor and wit. The works of both Aurélien Froment and Tim Etchells suggest new ways of understanding identity formation through various interactive approaches.
For this partnership with PuSh International Performing Art Festival, Etchell’s Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend to Lose First and The Quiet Volume was also available for public viewing.
I am thrilled to work on these multi-faceted exhibitions, exciting off-site programs and performances. I am sure that the dialogue they create with the public will disseminate well beyond the walls of the gallery.
I look forward to meeting you all!