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Documents and Lies

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
June 3 - July 15


Tarnish from a Communion Cup(1998),
silver oxide on cotton handkerchief

In a difficult take on the language and processes of photography, the British artworks selected for Documents & Lies deal "more or less" with photography -- without ever actually using the medium. The curator, André Martin, has brought together these sculptures, fabricworks and installations because of his sense that they "evolve around, evoke, invert and refer to [photography]", even though they may not actually have been intended as such. Among the images are imprints from tarnished metal objects on pieces of cotton handkerchiefs; evocations of photographic chemicals layered within translucent paint on wood panels; and a wall of text revealed only briefly by a single lightbulb every thirty seconds. Martin chose pieces by Douglas Gordon, Mathew Jones, Steven Moore and Cornelia Parker from this angle, using their motifs of reproduction, revelation and reprint to underscore his theme. The accompanying text by Denis Lessard is fraught with referents and associations. Documents & Lies is a conceptually-challenging artists' exhibition that will appeal to the particularly literary. As well, Martinís premise for the show presents an interesting example of contemporary curatorial method.

© Mia Johnson