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Geoffrey Farmer, The Surgeon and the Photographer

Geoffrey Farmer, The Surgeon and the Photographer (2009-2013), paper, textile, wood, metal [Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, May 30-Sep 7] Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

How Do I Fit This Ghost In My Mouth? An exhibition by Geoffrey Farmer

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver BC – May 30-Sep 7, 2015

Geoffrey Farmer came to international attention in 2012 with his Leaves of Grass installation at dOCUMENTA (13). Although the title of that work was borrowed from a Walt Whitman poetry collection, the work’s material content was made up of thousands of images the artist and his team cut from Life magazines (1935–1985), glued to grasses and applied to wooden supports.

Those hoping to see Leaves of Grass if they missed it before will be disappointed (its custodian, the National Gallery of Canada, has deemed it too fragile to travel). However, those hoping to see how Farmer arrived at this work will not be.

Billed as an “extensive mid-career survey,” the new VAG exhibition includes Farmer’s earlier stick-and-paper installations (The Last Two Million Years [2007] and The Surgeon and the Photographer [2009–2013]); his architectural interventions, one of which has involved the removal of the VAG’s well-trod-upon second-floor carpet; and his more recent works, such as Let’s Make the Water Turn Black (2013), in which the artist’s emergent interest in theatrical lighting, kinetic objects and music has come to the fore. As with many of Farmer’s exhibitions, what appears on opening night is liable to be repurposed by the artist in the days that follow. Be prepared to come more than once.


Michael Turner

 Tue, Apr 7, 2015