shrink-wrapped; curated by CCST candidate Alison Rajah

Friday December 5, 2008 - Saturday January 24, 2009

6 December, 2008 to 24 January, 2009. Opening Reception Friday, December 5, 8 to 10 pm.

Adel Abidin, Abbas Akhavan, A.S. Dhillon, Josephine Meckseper, Martha Rosler, Gail Wight and Retort

shrink-wrapped considers how a group of artists and intellectuals have responded to images of war and the image-world leading up to and since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Sourced from the flow of media imagery, much of the work in the exhibition isolates and re-contextualizes content. Images which are not intended to be looked at closely are paused. Through their work, the artists disrupt imagery which replaces that of defeat with victory, creates desires with promises of newfangled fulfillment, and teaches acceptance rather than assessment.

In the works in the exhibition, representations of the occupation and previous wars are conflated in varying ways with those of archival and current protest footage as well as those from the commodity and luxury culture industry. Through the surfaces of travel brochures, montages, photomontages, and broadsides, the works communicate boldly and graphically, like those of agitprop. Functioning also as objects in circulation, each work actively engages with issues of dissemination, distribution, and display.

Included in the exhibition are Adel Abidin’s brochure installation from Abidin Travels (2006); Josephine Meckseper’s two video works March for Peace, Justice and Democracy, 4/29/06, New York City (2007) and 0% Down (2008); a selection of photomontages from Martha Rosler’s Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful, new series (2004); Gail Wight and Retort’sAfflicted Powers project (2006); and new works by local artists Abbas Akhavan and A.S. Dhillon.

The publication accompanying the exhibition additionally features an essay by Sara Mameni. Following the strategy of using extant information as material, Mameni reuses the footnotes from Retort’s “Modernity and Terror” to generate a new text.

This exhibition is curated by Alison Rajah, a candidate to the Masters Degree in Critical Curatorial Studies at The University of British Columbia, with support from the Killy Foundation, the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives, the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, the Program in Canadian Studies, and the Finance Commission and the Alma Mater Society at The University of British Columbia. The Or Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, our members, donors, and volunteers. The Or Gallery is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres [PAARC].

Image: Gail Wight and Retort, video still from Afflicted Powers, 2006. Broadsides, video, dimensions variable. Courtesy of Gail Wight.

Or Gallery website