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Kotama Bouabane, Boats

Kotama Bouabane, Boats (2011), C-print [Centre A, Vancouver BC, Feb 13-Apr 12] Courtesy of the artist and Erin Stump Projects

Follow Suit: Kotama Bouabane and Henry Tsang

Centre A
Vancouver BC – Feb 13-Apr 12, 2014

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte once said of China, “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” Whether China was indeed sleeping then is secondary to the country’s global presence today. If the 20th century was the “American century,” the current one belongs so far to a nation whose possessions range from American art to American debt.

Although itself a huge producer of art and artists, China, like the previously emerging nation of Japan, has developed an equally out-sized interest in American culture. Yet, while Japan took its cues from America’s raucous youth, China has gone even further, importing American architects and designers to recreate in Beijing the sleepy gated communities of America’s middle-aged middle class.

In Henry Tsang’s cumulative four-channel projection Orange County (2003), we see a figure walking past four of these gated-off houses, followed by a similarly dressed figure and then another and another. Soon all four figures appear before a single house in a single projection. We think we are in California until we see four Chinese soldiers pass by in the opposite direction.

For his part, Kotama Bouabane addresses America’s own historical distillation of the world in Follow Suit (2012), a series of variously scaled photographs based on a Beijing-area theme park whose name means “the world.” Here, in pictures staged and not, we see structures similar to those in Tsang’s video, as well as structures that are both out of place and out of time, such as New York's former Twin Towers.

Michael Turner

Kotama Bouabane, Horse

Kotama Bouabane, Horse (2011), C-print [Centre A, Vancouver BC, Feb 13-Apr 12] Courtesy of the artist and Erin Stump Projects

Henry Tsang, Orange County

Henry Tsang, Orange County (2003), 4 Channel Video Projection [Centre A, Vancouver BC, Feb 13-Apr 12] Courtesy of the artist and Erin Stump Projects

Henry Tsang, Orange County

Henry Tsang, Orange County (2003), 4 Channel Video Projection [Centre A, Vancouver BC, Feb 13-Apr 12] Courtesy of the artist and Erin Stump Projects


 Thu, Feb 6, 2014