Vancouver through Their Eyes


Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind1993, Photograph

In Art 21’s Vancouver episode, four different artists are featured, selected because of their relationship to the city. By picking artist that all have a special relationship to an exact location viewers are shown the many different and interesting ways the history of the place has impacted the lives in it.

The first artist that is covered is Liz Magor, who makes copies or recreates ordinary objects and presents them in a way to invoke a sense of wonder at the history and morality that is ever present in her quit town.

Magor takes the history and everyday life of the city and frames it in ways that prompts much deeper thought about our own lives and the life of the city itself.

The second artist featured is Stan Douglas, who uses a mixture of videos, photos, and virtual reality simulations to recreate the history holding tensions that are still applicable to the world we live in today.

The third artist, Brian Jungen, makes sculptures by deconstructing and building up normal consumer products that showcase his upbringing on his family’s farm. One of the products he uses is a pair of Nikes, a usually high priced consumer good that he disassembles, cuts, and rebuilds into his masterpiece. During the video Jungen talks about growing up around a rather hostile town but has always held a quit and calm mentality. Jungen always discusses how had his parents not past away he probably would have never gone to art school, he would stayed and ran the family farm and done his artwork in a basement somewhere.

The forth and final artist is Jeff Wall, a photographer that recreates gestures until he captures the unspoken communication in them. Wall recreates war scenes with real people and actions, capturing the real expressions and movements in historical scenes. Wall talks about how photography can never be fake because the image that is capture is really happening at that exact time, weather it is staged or not the image is true. The scenes he recreates draws viewers in, printed on grand scale they cannot be ignored.

While all four artist are very different from each other in regards to media and subject matter there is one similarity that stands out in all their works of art, and that is that their towns history and environment has had a heavy impact on it all. From Magor’s bird display, Douglas’s virtual reality brothel, Jungen’s shoe sculpture, and Wall’s recreated gestures, Vancouver is reframed by their creations. All artist did a good job of explaining why they were drawn to the types of artwork that they were in. The video follows the artist around, giving viewers the feeling of being taken on a tour of their city. When the artist were talking they were usually working on their art, giving the film an easy laid back feeling. I thought the video as a whole was well executed, I enjoyed that it featured several different artist that worked in different medians.

-Danielle Riggs


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