Brian Jungen, Isolated Depiction of a Passage of Time (2001), plastic
cafeteria trays, wood [Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Feb 7-Apr 11, 2003]
NEWMODULR: James Carl, Brian Jungen,
Nestor Kruger, An Te Liu, Damien Moppett
Art Gallery of Calgary
Calgary AB Feb 7-Apr 11, 2003
Curator Barbara Fischer illustrates a once-futuristic vision that is now such a daily reality we no longer see it: the modular. Featuring standardized units for easy construction and flexible arrangement (think Ikea Billy), five Canadian artists have created works utilizing individual, stand-alone segments combined in new aggregate wholes.
Somewhere between design and architecture, each piece demonstrates interplays of negative and positive space, efficiency and stability versus disorder, and concepts of uniformity played against variations. Duplication, combination, juxatposition and configuration are key. The artists use such household appliances as air conditioners or stoves. They employ uniform measuring devices like blueprints, basic building materials like foam-core, and everyday items like car tires or stacked lunch trays. An Te Liu built sculptures with exercise machine parts and placed them against a backdrop of a suburban housing tract.
But beyond the aesthetic and inventive qualities of their images, the works points to themes of social injustice and disarray within the guise of social utopia. Brian Jungen, for example, stacks lunch trays to represent the number of aboriginals in Canadian prisons, and fashions First Nations masks from cut pieces of Nike runners. James Carls work underscores discrepancies between working conditions in third-world countries and the manufactured exported products of instant consumption. Nestor Kruger has visually corrected his familys farmhouse to digital standards and Damian Moppett explores the tenets of modernism.