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Ken Lum, Red Circle

Ken Lum, Red Circle (1986) fabric, wood [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Feb 12-Sep 25] Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

Ken Lum

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver BC – Feb 12-Sep 25, 2011

Ken Lum is a Vancouver-based artist who became internationally known for a complex body of conceptual art and writing. As a Canadian artist of Chinese heritage, his work is often concerned with issues of identity. A common theme is the use of words – in imagery imitating small business signs such as those used by restaurants or travel agents, or through text applied to mirror mazes, or in studio portraits with faux corporate logos. In addition to his more cryptic images of juxtaposed text and photos, Lum has created a number of popular sculptural installations.

Lum is often referred to as a “Vancouver School” artist (along with with Ian Wallace, Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham and Roy Arden) for his conceptual photography and for the time period in which he became established. Like many artists of his generation, he uses mass-produced consumer materials to diminish the boundaries between art and popular culture. His projects are “hands-off”; fabricated using studio photographers and tradespeople.

Curated by Grant Arnold, Lum's long-awaited retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery includes both seminal pieces and a number of artworks not previously exhibited in North America, including Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression (produced for Documenta Xl in 2002); House of Realization (for the 2007 Istanbul Biennial); and his recent Rorschach Shopkeeper Signs. Lum was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1999), a Killam Award for Outstanding Research (1998) and the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award (2007). He taught in the Visual Arts Department at UBC from 1990-2006 and has been on the board of several galleries and advisory councils including the VAG and Canada Council. His work has represented Canada in several international biennials.


Mia Johnson

Ken Lum, House of Realization

Ken Lum, House of Realization (2007–2011) installation with one-way mirror and text, installation view, Istanbul Biennial, 2007 [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Feb 12-Sep 25] Collection of the artist

Ken Lum, Hanoi Travel

Ken Lum, Hanoi Travel (2000), Plexiglas, powder-coated aluminum, enamel, glue, plastic letters [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, Feb 12-Sep 25] Collection of Lothar Albrecht Galerie, Frankfurt and private collection, Japan

 Sun, Feb 6, 2011