Vancouver continued....

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Saturday 5 April 2008
Sarah Eades

Wednesday - yes im a day behind with my posts but i'll catch up :)

Woke up and decided to go to Stanley park today. It’s a very beautiful park and although I just had a brief overview of the park I intend to come back tomorrow for a better look. Here is the picture I took of what I think may be the “lost lagoon” in Stanley Park.


Then went to an amazing organic shop called “Capers” for breakfast, needless information to you I’m sure.

Then I headed off to the Vancouver Art Gallery, totally unaware of what kind of place it is going to be. 

On entering I see an open, empty looking corridor. I spot the “cloakroom” for leaving my coat and bag and I am served by a lovely woman who refuses to get off the phone with her friend as she serves me. Not a great start. However the person on the admissions desk was much more friendly and took my $15 ticket charge with a smile. I’m in and enter the first floor with an exhibition called “Truth and Beauty” 

This contains some amazing old photographs, a lot of them too. I’m impressed by the selection and the way it is sectioned off into different subjects (Modernism, photography in print, pictorialism etc..) My favourite photographs were by Edward Weston, John Hagemeyer, Robert Demachy, Henrich Kühn, and it was lovely to see work by some New Zealand born photographers: Mary Moore and Mina Moore, Harold Cazneaux. I was also interested in the series called The Seven Last Words by Holland Day in which he depicted the crucifixion with himself as Christ. It brings to mind that then as now it is still a sensitive matter to depict religious subjects in photographs much more so than in paintings. That’s my opinion anyway. 

Next floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery was “The Tree -From Sublime to the Social” an exhibition of mainly environmental concern and not much of the sublime. Perhaps as I get older I move further away from my conceptual roots but I found much of the work too blatant and quite ugly. To artists produced works of interest though, Karin Bibas created some large digital photographs, with a Pre-Raphaelite feel to them and a beautiful sheen. 

Secondly was a work by Mungo Thompson who I believe was in the AAG’s last Triennial turbulence. This work “Silent film of a tree falling in the forest” was quote haunting, interdispersed with sections of blank white film. The effect was mesmerising.

Third floor has an amazing installation by Kutlu Ataman entitled Kuba, 2007, by far my favourite work and a great reason for being there. There were probably about 50 old TV sets and old chairs of various shapes and sizes with a chair for each TV set and each TV set showing an interview with a stranger. Each interview was subtitled, as the noise was hard to hear with everyone else’s. However I loved the mingle of the noise, the crowd like hum from all the interviews in the concrete room had the feeling of a train station or something. Quite overwhelming. The second part, or twin version of this installation was another called Paradise, 2007, which was similar except it contained interviews with people from California and was more colourful and glossy with large flat screen TV’s and white plinths holding headphones. So instead of the noise it was silent with just one interview being played out loud. You had to choose whom to listen to more carefully as more effort goes into putting those headphones on.

Obviously referencing the difference in the idea of wealth in both installations they were both totally fascinating. 

The last floor had Emily Carr and the group of Seven, which I did not find particularly engaging.

So it was a mixed bag at VAG but a good visit. It also made me realize that I really am part of the AAG now as I was constantly comparing the labels, wall text, paint colour, hanging methods etc with our Gallery. Is that a good thing or not?

The rest of the day was full of tourist activities; Gas Town Clock etc etc… here are some photos of the day.