Kunstinstituut Melly

November 20, 2006

2 Dec 2006-11 Feb 2007

Opening: 1 Dec 2006, 6 p.m.

Witte de With
Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Witte de With is delighted to present Brian Jungens solo exhibition this winter, his first on such a large scale in Europe.

Brian Jungen (b. 1970) is part of the generation of Vancouver-based artists currently bursting onto the international stage. Born to a Swiss-Canadian father and First Nations mother and raised in the Dane-zaa nation, his drawings, sculptures and installations explore elements of his own hybrid cultural identity. Yet his approach transcends questions of ethnicity, to reveal the complex exchanges of goods and ideas in our globalized world.

Jungen first came to public attention with his Prototypes for New Understanding (1998-2005), a selection of Nike Air Jordan trainers that he dissected and reassembled to resemble Northwest Coast masks. Conflating the transformative power of ceremonial masks with Nike consumers desire to become sport stars by wearing a particular brand of trainers, Jungen plays with economic and cultural values. In this and other pieces that adopt material from North American sports culture baseball bats in talking sticks (2005) and mitts in The Prince (2006) Jungen reveals the power of contemporary idols and links colonial history with todays sweatshop labor.

His artistic reputation was secured by his magnificent whale skeletons such as Cetology (2002): large sculptures made from cheap plastic deckchairs; endangered species rendered in non-biodegradable, mass-produced consumer objects. Stacking similar patio chairs in Structural Integrity Test (1999) and Mise en scène (2000), Jungen treats them as minimalist units and places his own work clearly in the lineage of conceptual art history.

Representing the postmodern, postcolonial world with a wry sense of humor, Jungen collapses stereotypes and embraces change, flux and instability. His practice approaches cultural difference as an unstable, reciprocal notion, using it as a starting point for creativity and critical reflection.
Brian Jungen at Witte de With is curated by Daina Augaitis, Nicolaus Schafhausen and Zoë Gray. The original show was organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery with the support of the Audain Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In Rotterdam, it is supported by the Canadian Embassy, The Hague. Following its presentation at Witte de With, the exhibition will travel to the Villa Stuck, Munich.

The publication Brian Jungen produced by WdW Publishers features essays by critic Clint Burnham, Tate curator Jessica Morgan, and artist/writer Edgar Schmitz, plus an introduction by Nicolaus Schafhausen and an interview with Harvard professor Homi K. Bhabha, by Solange de Boer and Zoë Gray (ISBN: 978-90-73362-69-7, 10 euro).

For more information, please contact or call 31 (0)10 411 0144.
Accompanying events

1 Dec 2006, 5 p.m.
Brian Jungen in conversation with artist/writer Edgar Schmitz.

2 Dec 2006, 5 p.m.
Gallerist Catriona Jeffries in conversation with Nicolaus Schafhausen about the Vancouver art scene, past and present.

7 Dec 2006, 7 p.m.
Curator James Putnam, author of Art and Artefact: The Museum as Medium, in conversation with Zoë Gray about artists who explore museology.

14 Dec 2006 , 7 p.m.
Artist Melvin Moti presents a program of artists films, bringing together his own interests with those suggested by Jungens work.

11 Jan 2007, 7 p.m.
Critic Clint Burnham places Jungen’s work within a broader picture of contemporary Canadian art.

18 Jan 2007, 7 p.m.
Professor Irit Rogoff gives a lecture on the idea of fieldwork.

11 Dec 25 Jan
In collaboration with the Rotterdam Foundation for Culture (SKVR), the Cultuurtraject project Art now will see over 500 adolescents aged 14-15 participating in an intensive, interactive visit to the exhibition and a practical workshop. For information, see our educational site (Dutch only).

Kunstinstituut Melly
November 20, 2006

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