At the Contemporary Art Gallery we present a solo exhibition by Turkish artist Meriç Algün Ringborg, her first in a museum in North America, comprising a new large-scale commission sited across the façade of our building. Visitors are invited to ‘read’ the gallery, the work wrapping around the outside as individual phrases envelope the physical structure.
Through the appropriation of methodologies that include collecting, systematizing and list making, much of Algün Ringborg’s practice centres on notions of cultural identity, language, belonging and the adjoining bureaucracies. In 2012 billboards were presented in the exhibition Show Off that took place in Malmö and Nicosia consecutively. The questions shown derive from The Concise Book of Visa Application Forms (2009), the work inserting queries for private information into the public realm. At a time when immigration is at the forefront of topical news stories, the project gained significant resonance.
The new work at the Contemporary Art Gallery takes the English dictionary as its starting point. Using only selected definitions of specific words, this ambitious commission appears as a series of inter-related sentences notionally composing mini-narratives and realized in a way that seems to incorporate different voices and characters, including that of the artist. As such the work evolves out of the dictionary akin to a fragmentary novel or short story, a series of episodes branching out into a loose meta-narrative concerning writing as a creative act as implied through the use of this ‘found’ language.
Vancouver, a city renowned internationally for the significance of its visual arts that conceptually re-pictures space and assigns meaning of the global in the local, provides a stimulating and challenging context for this piece by Algün Ringborg. Shown outside, the work intervenes in the urban fabric, addressing the narratives implicit in everyday routine and our daily lives. Its siting on the external surface of the gallery incites an evocation of the porosity of meaning that may emerge from such a public institution, through a contemplation of private ideas and thoughts seeping into the public domain.
This exhibition is made with support by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists.
Production support for the exhibition with Meriç Algün Ringborg is generously provided by SAHA Association. www.saha.org.tr