Saturday, February 25, 2006

I smelled garbage at the CCA...

The exhibition currently showing at the Canadian Centre for Architecture(CCA) in Montreal, dealt with sens(ation/uality/ing) of the city. It was an interesting overview of some very unique ideas and approaches to progress the way we interact with our environment. Highlights included projects by Buro Kiefer (Flamigstrasse), Maya Lin ( "Eclipstic" Ice Rink in Grand Rapids) and the photographs of John R Gossage (Triptych 1985). (Buero Kiefer's Park/Playground) (Maya Lin's Grand Rapids Ice Rink) (Canadian Centre for Architecture)

We also went to see the art of Anselm Kiefer in the travelling exhibition: Heaven and Earth.

Kiefer's body of work was an extraordinary look at his metaphorical re-creations of emotional, historical, philosophical and mythological relationships in both sculpture and painting.

The most popular and anticipated piece, ‘Buch mit Flügeln’, 1992-1994, ‘(Book with Wings)’, seemed less monumental compared to the more commanding pieces of painting which tended to challenge your personal space due to their immense scale and covert subject matter. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of symbolically traditional materials in his work presented unique relationships between the viewer and work as well as within the imagery contained in the pieces themselves.

A reoccurring and central theme was the 'book' which Kiefer explains:
"The book, the idea of a book or the image of a book, is a symbol of learning, of transmitting knowledge . . . I make my own books to find my way through the old stories.”
Many of Kiefers 'books' were represented in his sculptures. Displayed under glass cabinets, a series of books (approx. 4'x2' in size) made of canvas were layered with what looked like thick black tar. They were mysteriously ambiguous in both context and content and this ambiguity was further empasized by the inability to interact with these objects which we usually engage with.

Overall, I was impressed with the work. It seemed both whimsical and melancholy, surreal and static.

As commented on, I was also surprised to learn that the paintings which involved WWII subject matter, were created as recently as 2004! I'd agree that this subject matter is a bit 'tired' in respect to bringing awareness to the events which occurred at that time but there is still value in exploring these ideas. Like many new artists who use 'old' techniques, subject matter etc. there is an opportunity to re-invent how our preconceptions about these things can be altered in order to set up new ideological relationships and eccentricities.

I wasn't too familiar with his projects prior to the show but since seeing his exhibition it has piqued my interest to learn more about him!

(would be a good start:!!!

note (from my roommate): The opening of the Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain exhibited the work of Anselm Kiefer in the main gallery.


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