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Exhibitions

Song of the Open Road
Vikky Alexander, Robert Arndt, Gerard Byrne, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyn, Kelly Jazvac, Kelly Lycan, Niamh O’Malley, Dawit L. Petros, Greg Staats, Lisa Tan
April 1 to June 18, 2017

B.C. Binning, Alvin Balkind Galleries, Events room, Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada line
Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival

“You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.”
—Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1856)

Taking its title from a poem by Walt Whitman, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents a group exhibition as the central feature of this year’s Capture Photography Festival. Work is presented both inside and outside and across all of the gallery’s spaces, embracing a diverse set of conditions and approaches centred in a conceptual understanding of an expanded field of photographic practice that examines notions of what you see is most definitely not what you get.

Bringing together artists from Canada, Eritrea, Ireland, Sweden, and the US, the exhibition includes works that combine thematically to interrogate ideas rooted in photographic histories, engaging ideas such as veracity, recollection, remembrance, belonging, staging, and how the image documents and records these or is evidence of differing realities.

Key to the exhibition is Images or shadows of divine things (2005–), an ongoing series by Irish artist Gerard Byrne. Visually rich and intellectually complex, the artist’s work in photography, film, theatre, and multiscreen installation examines the slippage between time and the act of image creation. Presented here, a selection of these black-and-white photographs seems to depict a much earlier period, evoking vernacular photographic idioms of American midcentury photography and thus pointing toward the relationship between time, appearance, and the photographic document. Through a collection of over twenty images, a sense emerges that the series has a certain scale of vision. However, it is more about picturing the historical “conditions” of image making than it is about riffing on an aesthetic. That sense of conditions emerges only once the particularity of the given images is surpassed—that is when it becomes obvious that the specifics of the images are not the point, this realization becoming palpable when a sufficient number of them are grouped together.

Robert Arndt’s activities search and reveal the means of accessing culture and history through the mediated forms of books, magazines and the Internet. Made for the exhibition, Remainders, Repeats and Rejects (2017) is characteristic in its investigation of production whereby documentation itself becomes the artwork. Alongside a large-scale photograph of the gallery wall on which it sits atop, Arndt’s work collects and conflates personal imagery with found and staged scenarios, highlighting the notion that documentation may be all that is required for an idea to exist and resonate. We imagine wide ranging connections, invent narratives and recognize links between images, all thoughts set in motion to create a diversity of potential meaning.

Recent work by Canadian artist Kelly Lycan includes installations based on Gallery 291, the iconic New York photography gallery opened by Alfred Stieglitz in 1905. These recreations are developed through sourcing images available online, in an attempt to uncover an understanding or experience of the space while drawing on simulations of the photographic illusion of this. Song of the Open Road features a new version of Nearby Nearby, 291 Burlap Walls (2015), composed of a series of images of the walls of Gallery 291 culled from Internet searches. Printed on paper, the work creates a pixelated arena of varicoloured white grounds, where it is as if each image is forensically being drawn from some depths to emerge on the paper’s surface.

As a contemporary of artists such as Richard Prince, James Welling and Sherrie Levine who were active in New York in the early 1980s, Vikky Alexander is often associated with the Pictures Generation. She is best known for work that foregrounds a strong interest in the histories of architecture, design, and fashion, often focusing on locations such as shopping malls, showrooms, and show apartments—sites of desire, aspirations, and ideas of home. The images are often complicated through light, reflections, and refractions and speak of a set of conditions and values embedded in appearances as seen through furnishings and the notional view from the window (here, a large-scale photo mural). Shown outdoors at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Model Suite (Sliding Door) (2005/17) interplays with its architectural surroundings; the station’s glass pavilion lends a further physical and visual layer as we see the daily activity on the street through the work itself.

Ambient Advertising (2016), installed across the CAG’s windows, is a reconfigured work by Toronto-based Kelly Jazvac. Salvaged billboard images that she has reframed, manipulated and cut through, seemingly in reference to a quintessential Canadian landscape, visually envelop the gallery at street level. Taken from contemporary advertising, the imagery appeals to our collective sense of identity through reference to the romantic and awesome natural world that surrounds us while questioning the feeding of desire as driven by contemporary consumer culture.

Alongside photographic work in a variety of processes, the exhibition also includes moving-image works. Sunsets (2012), by American artist Lisa Tan, combines literature and various historical and personal references to materially explore the intricate relationship between language, image, and experience. The video, filmed on the threshold between night and day, unfolds like a conversation. Seemingly inconsequential things pop up and take hold: a phone call interrupts, the sun starts to set, a stranger asks a question, translations are needed. The work narrates Tan’s engagement with enigmatic writers, with histories, technologies, and geographies that she knows, in order to mediate those that she doesn’t.

Concerned with issues of visibility and the slippage between a moment and an image, Irish artist Niamh O’Malley investigates the construction and arrangement of time and document as revealed through the moving image. Across two large-scale screens, the silent black-and-white video Glasshouse (2014) unfolds as a lengthy tracking shot. As the camera moves seamlessly from left to right along the glass panes, the natural idyll disappears here and there as the glass becomes more or less opaque. Through this O’Malley draws our attention to the process of looking, the camera seemingly attempting to locate and uncover meaning. Yet as images fragment, blocked by stained and broken glass, such efforts are thwarted, challenging our perception of what it is we are actually viewing and of how the images are constructed.

Born in Montreal and currently working in Stockholm, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn investigates issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics, and multiculturalism, often revealing the unnoticed political relevance of seemingly trivial historical anecdotes by shedding light on stories overlooked, hidden, or deemed otherwise insignificant. Seizing Hold of a Memory as It Flashes Up (2010) is a blind embossing using the speech of twelve-year-old Severn Suzuki, daughter of Japanese Canadian science communicator and environmental activist David Suzuki, delivered at the 1992 Earth Summit. Suzuki and members of ECO, the Environmental Children’s Organization, raised the money to travel from Vancouver to Brazil so they could attend the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Here, Suzuki delivered her speech before 172 representatives of different countries, 108 heads of state, and some 2,400 NGO representatives; 17,000 of the people who attended the parallel NGO Global Forum had consultative status, resulting in a meeting that ultimately led to the Kyoto Protocol.

Toronto-based artist Greg Staats, Kanien’kehá:ka (b. Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural world as an ongoing process of conceptualising a Haudenosaunee restorative aesthetic that defines the multiplicity of relationships with trauma and renewal. Staats addresses the systemic deficit of language—through personal and community archives and an intellectual and aesthetic interpretation of the body and ceremony. The installation untitled (objects of reciprocal thinking) (2014) combines both works from the beginning of the artist’s reflection of public and private within a Haudenosaunee linguistic and mnemonic continuum linked to place and recent works based on a reciprocal methodology. When at the edge of one’s condolence and within the liminal metaphysical space prior to renewal, there lies a hesitancy to move forward. While external and internal barriers must be overcome, the process must be completed with the help of others, both as witnesses and holders of the good mind. This ceremonial movement is comparable to moving from the darkness of the forest into the clearing where the light illuminates breath and one’s footing becomes clearer. The Mid-Winter (renewal) ceremony Gaihwayao:ni:, translated as “encouragement,” employs reciprocal gestures and words, repeatable to lifting up the mind after it has dropped down during condolence and/or post-trauma.

Chicago-based Canadian Eritean artist Dawit L. Petros similarly reflects through personal and cultural histories on ideas surrounding place making that are centred on a critical rereading of the relationship between African histories and European modernism. The book About the Author’s Journey from Ethiopia to Italy and about the Impressions Made on Him by His Stay in That Country in Tigrinya, by nineteenth-century writer Fesseha Giyorgis, was the first text published in the Tigrinya language (used in present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia). Using this as a guide, Petros undertook the journey from Ethiopia to Italy, his contemporary journey mirroring the historical passage across the Mediterranean Sea as well as the one undertaken by those currently fleeing to safety. When he arrived in Italy, the artist met a group of Eritrean migrants, with whom he made Untitled (2016), a collection of images with these individuals holding mirrors or archive materials in visual dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Viewed together, the photographs offer a metaphor-rich articulation of the fluidity of contemporary transnational experiences and attendant issues of cultural negotiation, speaking to how images and objects enable a sense of belonging or retrieval, both public and private.

We acknowledge the generous financial support of the following:

Vikky Alexander: Presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program—IntransitBC
Niamh O’Malley: Culture Ireland
Greg Staats: The Banff Centre, via a thematic residency program; the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario; and the Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada
Lisa Tan: Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists

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Song of the Open Road


Erdem Taşdelen
The Quantified Self Poems
Window spaces

Wild Child 
Events Room 

January 13 to March 19, 2017

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents two new works by Toronto-based Turkish artist Erdem Taşdelen.

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.

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.

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 - The Quantified Self Poems


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


Diane Borsato
The Moon Is Often Referred To As A Dead, Barren World, But I Think This Is Not Necessarily The Case
Saturday, March 25, 6-9pm
B.C. Binning Gallery

With the collaboration of Judie Glick, Kuniko Yamamoto, Naomi Sawada and Anne Morrell Robinson.

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a unique one-night installation by Toronto-based artist Diane Borsato. Evolving from a research visit to Vancouver in summer 2016 as part of our Burrard Marina Field House Studio Residency Program, Borsato will work with members of the Japanese flower arranging (Ikebana) community in Vancouver to develop The Moon Is Often Referred To As a Dead, Barren World, But I Think This Is Not Necessarily The Case.

Typical of her practice, Borsato often works with amateur organisations – mycologists, astronomers, beekeepers – in projects that examine social and sensorial modes of knowing. She has been practising and researching Sogetsu Ikebana for several years.

Taking its title from a statement made by the modern sculptor and Sogetsu founder Teshigahara Sofu in Kadensho: Book of Flowers the work echoes ideas found in the publication in which he imagines making arrangements in another, very different world. For the project, Borsato invites several Ikebana masters from the modern Sogetsu school to participate in a collaborative workshop and installation. The practitioners will work with seasonal materials, and objects, supplies and the space of the gallery building itself to provide a conceptual framework for materialising a dialogue between the worlds of Ikebana – often a highly technical, rule-based traditional cultural practice and contemporary art – with its own unmistakable tropes and cultural specificities.

The project is generously supported by The Vancouver Foundation.

Diane Borsato has established an international reputation for her social and interventionist practices, performance, video, photography, and sculpture. She was twice nominated for the Sobey Art Award and was winner of the Victor Martyn-Lynch Staunton Award for her work in the Inter-Arts category from the Canada Council for the Arts. She has exhibited and performed at major Canadian institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant, the Art Gallery of York University, MOCCA (Toronto), the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Art Centre (Ottawa), and in galleries and museums in the US, France, Mexico, Taiwan and Japan.

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Diane Borsato - The Moon Is Often Referred To As A Dead, Barren World, But I Think This Is Not Necessarily The Case


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


White, Steel, Slice, Mask
Window spaces
September 10, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Bear Claws Salad Hands
Off-site: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line
September 10, 2016 – March 19, 2017

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new multi-venue commission by collaborators Dutch artist Mirjam Linschooten and Canadian artist Sameer Farooq, interrogating the ways in which cultural diversity is narrated and represented. Working together for over a decade, the duo’s interdisciplinary practice creates community-based models of participation in order to reimagine a material record of the present. Utilizing installation, photography, design and writing, they investigate the tactics and methods of anthropology to examine various forms of collecting, interpretation and display. The result is work that reveals how institutions speak about our lives, evoking an archeology of the present often existing beyond the framework of the gallery. Their expansive projects develop intricate, speculative archives repurposing found objects and language to expose ruptures within cultural representation, questioning the invisibility of the archivist and interrogating the inherent value bias in collecting.

Over the past year Farooq and Linschooten have undertaken a series of cumulative research trips via the Burrard Marina Field House Studio Residency Program toward the development of installations at CAG, the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station and the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). Core to the various commissions are participatory workshops led by the artists with the Native Youth Program (NYP) at MOA, a program for Indigenous youth from Greater Vancouver where students engage in various aspects of working within a museum context, leading public tours, completing research projects and participating in presentations. Farooq and Linschooten invited NYP participants to consider their personal narratives in relation to the anthropological museum’s displays, identifying key elements for examination in the Multiversity Galleries. Throughout the histories of colonialism and capitalism innumerable cultural objects have entered museum collections around the world detached from the communities and physical bodies they belong to. Ripped from context and trapped behind glass, rearranged and discombobulated, the cultural authenticity, specificity and vitality of these objects are dismembered into taxonomies of otherness. Within the window spaces at CAG, Farooq and Linschooten consider such acts of ethnographic curation. Reflecting tensions between local communities and their representation in museums, Farooq and Linschooten focus on ongoing cultural forms that persist in contemporary culture. Replicating, yet also subverting, the supposed objective aesthetic of museum vitrines, Farooq and Linschooten have installed a collection of mass-produced cultural objects purchased from shops across the lower mainland, notionally representative of Vancouver’s largest immigrant communities. Display mechanisms such as shelves, hooks and bars are used to disrupt and unsettle the objects, disturbing the meticulous arrangement and suggestive of the uneasy relations between the conserved and custodian, artifact and everyday object, revealing the unintended violence of display.

At Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Farooq and Linschooten repurpose found language from a local souvenir shop highlighting the active commodification of culture. During their time in Vancouver the artists discovered Hudson House Trading Company, a typical tourist store in Gastown selling a plethora of Canadian ‘knick-knacks’ that capitalize on perceptions of Vancouver’s identity via a collection of cultural reproductions for sale. Through the simple act of reproducing the language of the store’s inventory list and applying the names of a selection of items directly onto the station windows, the Canada Line façade operates like an advert exaggerating the wholesale co-opting of culture as currency.

The re-appropriation of found images, objects and language developed into public installations both exaggerate and subvert the ethnographic strategies of representation and implicate such practices into a larger system of commodification utilized to propagate cultural hierarchy, difference and discrimination.

Projects are generously supported by the BC Arts Council Innovations Program, the Mondriaan Fund and the Hamber Foundation. Farooq and Linschooten’s collaboration with the Native Youth Program is developed in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology. The project at Yaletown- Roundhouse Station is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — IntransitBC.

The interdisciplinary practice of Sameer Farooq (Canada) and Mirjam Linschooten (Netherlands) can be situated as an expanded documentary practice, presenting counter archive’s, new additions to museum collections or making buried histories visible. Their work has been exhibited in various countries, including: Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Recent projects include The Figure in the Carpet, Blackwood Gallery, Toronto (2015); Faux Guide, Trankat, Morocco (2014); The Museum of Found Objects, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); The Museum of Found Objects, Sanat Limani, Istanbul (2010) and Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, Artellewa, Cairo (2014).

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Sameer Farooq and Mirjam Linschooten - Bear Claws Salad Hands


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