Beck and Al Hansen:
Playing with Matches

Art Beatus Gallery, Vancouver
February 5-March 6

Al Hansen, John Lennon and Andy Warhol (1972),
Photo: Valerie Herouvis

Art Beatus Gallery, Vancouver February 5-March 6 - "Beck and Al Hansen: Playing with Matches" is an exhibition of collage, sculpture, photography, audio-video, intermedia poetry and "ephemera" curated by Wayne Baerwaldt of Winnipeg's Plug In Gallery. But more than this, it is a tribute to an under-recognized figure on the international art scene who made an enormous contribution to the movement known as Fluxus, and to his grandson, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist.

Beck Hansen (1997),
Photo: Valerie Herouvis

With its roots in John Cage's ideas about chance and indeterminacy as conditions for the creation of art and Marcel Duchamp's ideas about art as a concept rather than an object, Fluxus was an anti-art movement originating in the 1960s.

Al Hansen's early Venus collages of found materials like Hershey bar wrappers and his work with discarded cigarette butts were instrumental in creating a signature style for him. Like his grandfather Al Hansen, Beck shares an attraction to collage and found materials - although his medium is often music and his "samplings" take the form of appropriations from the music-video culture.

Both a family romance and a Fluxus saga, "Playing with Matches" includes re-creations of Hansen's performance pieces; a two-hour video piece compiled from music-video outtakes; and collages that demonstrate Beck's affection for imagery strained through biker and body-building culture. Above all, it has to do with "an esthetic refinement that gets mixed with raw images".

© Mia Johnson