Amber Frid-Jimenez is an artist and recently appointed Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Her talk explored the latent intersections between design, technology and contemporary art. Trained in design and media arts at the MIT Media Lab, her current and recent research and teaching affiliations include the Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands, the MIT Program for Art, Culture and Technology, and the National Academy of Art & Design in Bergen, Norway.
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.
For the first exhibition of work by Nairy Baghramian in North America the Contemporary Art Gallery presented Class Reunion, an ambitious eighteen piece sculpture comprising a variety of abstract forms. Consistent throughout the artist’s practice, it references literature, theory and modernist design to comment on current issues of materiality, manufacture and display, while examining aspects of social and political relationships.
As a collection of posed characters Class Reunion forms an uncanny tableau, the stage shifting between the immediacy of the inherent material qualities – surface, shape and colour – to a more speculative consideration of meaning and content. The viewer’s experience moves from a consideration of physicality to an examination of social mores, the specific objects evoking a multiplicity of personalities and social identities.
The word ‘class’ can signify formal categorizations as well as social and economic structures. While the coming together of forms is familiar, resembling social encounters and playing with our desire to classify things, Baghramian seems to suggest the specification of types, division into groupings and ideas of personality or identity are as fabricated as the individual sculptures we see.MORE