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World Upside Down

Walter Phillips Gallery
Banff AB – through Mar 4, 2007

Terrance Houle and Jarusha Brown, Untitled

Terrance Houle and Jarusha Brown, Untitled (from the Urban Indian Series) (2006) [Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff AB, through Mar 4, 2007]

Curated by Richard William Hill, World Upside Down is a group exhibition of work by individual artists, artist collectives, posters and movie stills that turn normal events upside-down, inside-out and on their head. Killer rabbits hunt for humans, Superman is a hero of the Soviet Union, and British aristocrats are dressed in African fabrics.

During the 20th Century, conceptual artists have frequently illuminated and contradicted the things we take for granted: the very conventions of “normal” life. These artworks generate social satires exposing what we believe to be truth as simple consensus that may not even be timely any more. Behaviours taken as natural and necessary are often revealed as merely conventional, and possibly not even in our best interests.

Among the many works in the exhibit, Jim Logan’s The Diner’s Club, No Reservations Required inverts the codes of gendered and racialized representation in Manet’s, Déjeuner sur l’herbe. Yinka Shonibare has restaged Gainsborough’s famous painted portrait Mr. and Mrs. Andrews as a sculpture, decapitated the sitters, removed the landscape and dressed the subjects in colourful “African” fabrics, referencing complex, hybrid colonial histories.

In a similar socio-political vein, General Idea has changed Robert Indiana’s classic 1960s “Love” graphic to “AIDS”. A commissioned billboard project by Terrance Houle uses photography and video to parody the complexities of contemporary Aboriginal identity.

Mia Johnson

Roger Shimomura, Mr. Wong’s Theatre Company (2001)

Roger Shimomura, Mr. Wong’s Theatre Company (2001) [Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff AB, through Mar 4, 2007]

 Tue, Nov 7, 2006