Casey Kaplan

Gallery News

Brian Jungen, Cetology, 2002
plastic chairs
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Purchased with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program and the Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund
Photo: Trevor Mills


Vancouver Art Gallery Presents Work of Brian Jungen at Shanghai Biennale

9th Shanghai Biennale
2 October 2012 – 31 March 2013

Vancouver, B.C. – The Vancouver Art Gallery will feature the work of award-winning Canadian artist Brian Jungen at the Vancouver Pavilion of the 9th Shanghai Biennale, which is presenting city pavilions as part of its program for the first time in its sixteen year history. Vancouver is the only Canadian city to be selected for the major international art forum.
“We are very honoured to be invited to represent Canada as one of the Biennale’s international pavilions.” said Gallery director Kathleen Bartels. “This prestigious event represents a unique opportunity to showcase one of our pre-eminent artists on the international stage, and we’re delighted to take part in this important presentation with colleagues and other major art institutions from around the world.”
Daina Augaitis, chief curator/associate director at the Vancouver Art Gallery, is curating the Jungen exhibition at the Vancouver Pavilion. Opening on Oct. 2nd, it will feature some of the artist’s signature works, including Prototypes for New Understanding and Cetology. Many of the works on exhibit will be from the Gallery’s permanent collection. Jungen, an artist of Aboriginal and Swiss ancestry, has emerged internationally as one of Canada’s most acclaimed artists, and was the subject of the internationally touring exhibition eponymously titled Brian Jungen, which travelled to New York (The New Museum, 2005), Rotterdam (Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, 2006), and Munich (Museum Villa Stuck, 2007).
The theme of the 9 Shanghai Biennale is reactivation. Jungen exemplifies this idea by repurposing everyday, mass-produced objects into unexpected sculptural forms that are at once familiar yet strange. In the works presented in the exhibition, Jungen reconfigured Nike sports shoes into startling evocations of Northwest Coast Native masks and crafted cut-up plastic patio chairs into an enormous suspended whale-like skeleton. In his witty, conceptual inversions, he transforms commodities into new hybrids that reactivate the original source materials, inviting viewers to re-imagine the possibilities of extending the life of abundant consumer products. As Jungen observes, “Almost everything in our society is disposable, and I want to slow down that mass deterioration into the landfill, and channel it into another direction, into the museum.”
The Vancouver Art Gallery’s participation in the Shanghai Biennale is part of its commitment to showcase work from the Asia Pacific region and promote collaborations around the Pacific Rim. This focus is reflected on an ongoing basis in Gallery exhibitions and programming, with prominent recent examples including: Yang Fudong: Fifth Night, Song Dong: Waste Not; Michael Lin: A Modest Veil; House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective; and Home and Away: Crossing Cultures on the Pacific Rim.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is grateful for the financial support of the British Columbia Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Wesgroup and JNBY Art Project for this project.
The Vancouver Pavilion at the Shanghai Biennale is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, chief curator and associate director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.