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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


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


Hello! This is Edwina Zhao, the new curatorial intern from Singapore!

I am currently pursuing a BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree at University of the Arts London – Chelsea College of Arts. For the fall semester, I travelled to Vancouver as an exchange student through Emily Carr University of Art + Design to take part in the Media Arts Internship Program. The program gave me this great opportunity to join CAG and work alongside Curator Shaun Dacey and Assistant Curators Jas Lally and Holly Schmidt, and the rest of the CAG team.

Back in London, my art practice is multidisciplinary and I work primarily with digital medium. For this reason, I decided to continue my studies with Emily Carr’s Film, Video and Integrated Media program while I am in Hollywood North – Vancouver. Putting my skills and knowledge into practice, I am going to create some exciting video content for CAG working with current Field House artist Keg de Souza. So, stay tuned to CAG’s vimeo channel  for more updates.

Hope to see you in the gallery soon,
Edwina

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Meet Edwina, Curatorial Intern


‘The Madam’, was created as part of the ‘Skins’ workshop. In collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF), a branch of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), Skawennati led an intensive workshop called ‘Skins’ participating in MOA’s Native Youth Program. Supported by the British Columbia Arts Council Youth Engagement program.

‘Skins’ involved six Indigenous youth currently participating in the Native Youth Program, part of an ongoing relationship between CAG and MOA. Hosted at ECUAD, the workshop began with an exploration of storytelling as oral tradition folding into how stories can be told in new ways through ‘machinima’ (a portmanteau of “machine” and “cinema”).

Calvin Charlie-Dawson – Squamish, Stó:lō, Kwakwaka’wakw
Dusty Carpenter – Heiltsuk
Latisha Wadhams – Kwakwaka’wakw
Karoleena Medina – Heiltsuk
Jennifer Pahl – Tsimshian, Nisga’a , Gitxsan
Isaiah Wadhams – Squamish, Stó:lō, Kwakwaka’wakw

Montreal based, Kanien’keha:ka artist Skawennati’s project with CAG, ‘machinima’ workshops that use new technologies, virtual environments and video games to empower Indigenous youth to tell stories in a new way.

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Video | The Madam - Skins workshop


‘Thowxeya’ was created as part of the ‘Skins’ workshop. In collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF), a branch of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), Skawennati led an intensive workshop called ‘Skins’ participating in MOA’s Native Youth Program. Supported by the British Columbia Arts Council Youth Engagement program.

‘Skins’ involved six Indigenous youth currently participating in the Native Youth Program, part of an ongoing relationship between CAG and MOA. Hosted at ECUAD, the workshop began with an exploration of storytelling as oral tradition folding into how stories can be told in new ways through ‘machinima’ (a portmanteau of “machine” and “cinema”).

Calvin Charlie-Dawson – Squamish, Stó:lō, Kwakwaka’wakw
Dusty Carpenter – Heiltsuk
Latisha Wadhams – Kwakwaka’wakw
Karoleena Medina – Heiltsuk
Jennifer Pahl – Tsimshian, Nisga’a , Gitxsan
Isaiah Wadhams – Squamish, Stó:lō, Kwakwaka’wakw

Montreal based, Kanien’keha:ka artist Skawennati’s project with CAG, ‘machinima’ workshops that use new technologies, virtual environments and video games to empower Indigenous youth to tell stories in a new way.

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Video | Thowxeya - Skins workshop


Kim Beom
December 5, 2015 to January 17, 2016

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada of work by Korean artist Kim Beom. Comprising a survey of work spanning over twenty years and made across a range of material and form, the exhibition presents characteristically humorous and inquisitive takes on the way we come to see and know things.

Kim is a key figure of his generation in South Korea, his ideas based in the shift created when image-making moves from language to physical form. He fundamentally resists any singular definition, partly through the eclecticism of media—drawing, video, sculpture, performance—as well as taking on seemingly disparate subjects encompassing such things as the entire body of work of a modernist Korean poet or the domestication of dogs. Regularly recalling moments in popular culture and often visualizing wordplay or puns that tip language into the absurd or create comic forms, works such as the untitled series of drawings and related video from 1991-96 are as refreshingly intriguing as they are disarming in their charm and curiosity with the world that surrounds us.

Visitors to the exhibition are welcomed by a modest canvas into which has been cut a short text. Greeting (2007) may appear almost straightforward in its appeal, captivating in the openness of its invitation, and yet it suggests the impending experience of the exhibition as an open field where the viewer can apply or should determine their own impressions.

Perception and illusion are key to Kim’s practice. While much of his work is figurative in the sense that there are recognizable representational components depicted, this lack of ambiguity is called into question whereby the stability of image or language and its ability to communicate are set in motion. In speaking about his paintings, many of which are raw canvases that have been cut into, Kim talks about this blankness as acting like “a screen for the imagery in the viewer’s mind.” In Man Standing (1995), two footprints in metal rings are attached to the surface of the work displayed flat on the floor.  Here we are asked to complete the image, conjuring the subject, imagining ourselves in the space of the piece itself.

This idea of fluid meaning can also be seen in other works that involve a notional transformation in some way – be it functional, a tautology between image to object, or a perceptual shift in the mind of the viewer. Such inventive changes may be considered witty or surreal, and achieved via the most economical of means. An Iron in the Form of a Radio, a Kettle in the Form of an Iron, and a Radio in the Form of a Kettle (2002) brings together the three household items which retain their familiarity of form and yet, as described in the title, change their function. As objects they retain their base characteristics but nonetheless are simultaneously something else, becoming other than, or more than, that which they appear to exclusively exemplify.

Such improbable transformation in both the imagination of the artist and by extension the audience can be seen in Untitled (Plants from the Places) series (2007- ongoing). Here Kim cuts photographic images of plants from magazines and newspapers sticking them together to form new “plants” that continue to grow by the addition of other pieces of green paper. Through this reusing the artist completes the cycle – trees are cut down, made into pulp which then becomes paper and is returned to being a plant. In other works, this cultivation of change is suggested by Kim with a mix of both humour and unease.

How meaning is made, who constructs it and for whom it is intended is seen more directly in works such as A Rock that was taught it was a Bird (2010) in which an absurdist gesture has an actor attempting to teach a rock to fly, unperturbed by its seeming lack of response. Yet by soaking up this instruction is the rock not altered in some way? Objects Being Taught They are Nothing But Tools (2010), is a large scale sculptural work that has common household objects placed on model chairs facing a blackboard in a familiar classroom-like setting. The objects are assembled in front of a pre-recorded, televised lecture in which the teacher’s head is cut off and his voice dubbed so that in a speeded up, squeaky voice, the orator emphatically and gravely iterates the utility of “students” and, therefore, the futility of attempting to become anything more. Tools do not go to the hospital to see doctors, the voice points out, as humans do. They are instead serviced and fixed, or simply replaced. So it goes for the student. Education is a process that involves some notional form of change: knowledge is imparted and one’s identity and views on the world around us are (in)formed. Conventional structures of learning are undermined and replaced by questioning the fabric of our collective and individual perceptions.

Kim Beom, born in 1963 lives and works in South Korea. Solo exhibitions include: Kim Beom: The School of Inversion, Hayward Gallery, London (2012); Kim Beom: Animalia, REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles (2011); Objects Being Taught They Are Nothing But Tools, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, (2010); Kim Beom, Artsonje Center, Seoul (2010); Beom Kim, Sun Gallery, Seoul (2007); Flower, Trans Hudson Gallery, New York (2000); Utility Objects, Trans Hudson Gallery, New York (1997). Group exhibitions include: 2013 California Pacific Triennial, Orange  County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (2013); Time Mutations, UB Art Galleries, University of Buffalo, Buffalo (2013);Tireless Refrain, Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea (2013); Unknown Forces, MSGSU Tophabe-I Amire Culture and Arts Center, Istanbul (2013); (Im)Possible Landscape, PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2013); Media City Seoul, Seoul Museum of Art (2012); City Within the City, Gertrude Contemporary  Art Spaces, Melbourne (2012); Tell me, Tell me: Australian and Korean Art 1976-2011, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2011); A Rock That Was Taught It Was A Bird, Artspace, Auckland (2010); The Malady of Writing. MACBA, Barcelona (2009); Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists  from Korea, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2009); The Demon of Comparisons, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2009); The Cover of a Book is the Beginning of a Journey, Arnolfini, Bristol (2008); Always a little further, 51st Venice Biennale, Venice (2005); 8th  International Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul (2003); Under Construction: New Dimensions of Asian Art, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo (2002); Beyond Landscape, Artsonje Center, Seoul (1999). Work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in the United States; the Museum für Kommunikation, in Bern, Switzerland; and the Seoul Museum of Art, the Ho-Am Art Museum, Artsonje Center, and the Horim Museum, in Seoul, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, in Gwachun, Korea.

 

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Kim Beom


Burrard Marina Field House artist-in-residence Maddie Leach speaking at the ‘spaced symposium’ Perth, WA, Australia.

Reflecting on the spaced 2: future recall projects, the spaced symposium presented a day of discussions addressing the relationship between museums, contemporary art and communities.

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Video | Maddie Leach - Spaced Symposium - courtesy of spaced 2


Maddie Leach | Mandurah – courtesy of spaced 2: future recall

spaced 2: future recall, the second edition of the spaced program, presented newly commissioned artworks by fourteen contemporary Australian and international artists who lived and worked for extended periods in Western Australian rural and remote communities throughout 2013-14, developing works based on an engagement with local residents, histories and landscapes.

Thank you to spaced 2, Perth, WA, Australia for sharing the video.
See more about ‘spaced 2’ here: spaced.org.au/exhibitions/

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Video | Maddie Leach | Mandurah - courtesy of 'spaced 2: future recall'


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