January 24 – June 1, 2014
The Contemporary Art Gallery presents an ambitious new neon commission across our building façade with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, as part of a larger partnership of presentations, performances and events with British artist Tim Etchells. Arguably best known for his work with Forced Entertainment, Etchells has developed his own practice as an artist outside of their ground-breaking performances, his solo work is diverse, moving from a base in performance into visual art and fiction. Through writing, producing neon, video and text, collaborations with the photographer Hugo Glendinning on photographic work, and performance projects with an ever-expanding group of artists from around the world, including Franko B and Vlatka Horvat, Etchells opens up new possibilities to approach related ideas via different routes by working across these different media and contexts.
In all aspects of his practice Etchells is often concerned with live-ness and presence, with the unfolding of events in time and place. The site where things happen could be an LCD monitor or a computer screen, a stage, the space of a page, a gallery, a found location, a street, or some private space — a room or a car for instance — in which a person might listen to the radio or read a text. Who Knows is typical of Etchells’ approach in that something happens — there is an encounter, a process, the unfolding of an event and its implications, and an exploration of the dynamic relationship between the work and the viewer. Who Knows reveals a fascination with rules and systems in language and in culture, in the way these structures are both productive and constraining. Individual phrases of ‘I know’, ‘You know’, ‘We know’, ‘They know’, produces a playfully paranoid flavour, yet a tone that takes on something of the surveillance, snooping, watching topic, that’s even more on our minds since the information leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in May of last year. Through the repetition of phrases, the text stages or implies an event or an idea that is at once unravelled and assembled. The mechanisms and economies of this process — of exposure and concealment, construction and deconstruction, appearance and disappearance — are at the heart of what Etchells does.
In addition to this installation we co-present a series of performances — The Quiet Volume with Ant Hampton and Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First with Jim Fletcher — and public talks involving Etchells detailed elsewhere in this bulletin. Collectively these form our hosting of Tim Etchells as PuSh Festival 2014 artist-in-residence. Presented in partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver.