Artist Nathan Coley discusses his exhibition Knowledge, Kindliness and Courage at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and the off-site work We Must Cultivate Our Garden, November 23, 2012 to January 20, 2013. Video by Brian Lye.
Knowledge, Kindliness and Courage is the first solo exhibition in North America of Turner Prize nominee, Nathan Coley. This major presentation includes Unnamed (2012), a new commission in the gallery and We Must Cultivate Our Garden, installed on the roof of the Pennsylvania Hotel in the Downtown East Side. Unnamed forms the centerpiece to the exhibition, over 30 recycled headstones informally gathered together, supported on stout cedar batons. These ‘ready-made’ objects produce a powerful presence resonating with Coley’s ongoing investigations as to how our environment speaks of collective desires and beliefs through its embodiment of social histories.MORE
This publication is the first artist's substantial monograph, covering the past 10 ten years. Born in 1967 in Glasgow, Nathan Coley is interested in the idea of “public” space, and his practice explores the ways in which architecture becomes invested—and reinvested—with meaning. Across a range of media Coley investigates what the built environment reveals about the people it surrounds and how the social and individual response to it is in turn culturally conditioned. Using the readymade as a means to take from and re-place in the world, Coley addresses the ritual forms we use to articulate our beliefs—from hand-held placards and erected signs to religious sanctuaries. Whether highlighting in illuminated letters the testimony of a New Yorker recalling the World Trade Center attacks or erasing the names of the dead from their gravestones, his work frequently turns the specific into the general, thereby testing its function as a form of social representation; simply, does this aphorism, this gravestone, this building, speak on my behalf?MORE