KEN LUM |
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
MARCH 2 - APRIL 16, 2017
OPENING RECEPTION: MARCH 2, 2017, 6 - 9 PM
ARTIST TALK: MARCH 2, 7 PM
GET ON THE FREE BUS! For the opening reception, a bus will depart from The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W, Toronto) at 6 PM.
Bus leaves the AGM at 8:30 PM for return trip to Toronto. RSVP on Eventbrite!
Of the many things that the phrase a matter of life and death brings to mind, obituaries or memorials might not be first among them, but they are, in their most essential nature, a matter of both. They recount, document and celebrate a life lived but are only produced and published upon its end. The stories that we tell about ourselves and others are vital in that they are constructs of identity, informing both thought and action. However—except in the case of individuals whose lives are lived in the public realm—these stories remain largely private, internal narratives. In the simplicity of the recounting of dates, activities and peoples, obituaries and memorials invite questions: is this how the deceased would have represented themselves in life? Is this a true accounting of their stories?
This exhibition brings together three bodies of work by internationally established Canadian artist Ken Lum that take up these questions of truth in representation, all in forms that can be considered a kind of portraiture. Words in paint or printed on paper, figures in clay and bronze; symbolic objects standing in for the human subject. In the space of the gallery, these works blur the relationships between the life and the representation of it, between text and image as signifier, and art and document. Together, they suggest that we must look awry—and wryly—at the evidence of lives lived, stories told and untold.
Vancouver-born Ken Lum has been an artist for over 35 years producing conceptual and representational art in a range of media, including painting, sculpture and photography. He is currently Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. A founding editor of Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, he has published catalog essays on Chen Zhen, Liu Wei, Ian Wilson and Trevor Mahovsky/Rhonda Weppler. He has an extensive record of international exhibitions, including Documenta and numerous biennales. Lum has also completed several permanent public art commissions in Vienna, Leiden, Utrecht, Vancouver, Toronto, St Louis and St Moritz. He is presently working on a memorial commemorating the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster in Cameroon. Lum has served as curator of several large-scale exhibitions including Sharjah Biennial 7, Shanghai Modern: 1919 –1945 and the NorthWest Annual. He is presently co-curator of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia, a citywide exhibition of major commissions to open in the fall of 2017 in Philadelphia.
Image above: Life as a Key Punch Operator, 2016, archival ink on archival Japanese paper (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Talk: Ken Lum
THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 7 PM
Join us for an artist talk with Ken Lum as he discusses his practice and the exhibition A Matter of Life and Death.
Nam Phi Dang Artist Talk + Curator's Tour of Spring Exhibitions
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 1 PM
Spend your Sunday afternoon at the AGM! XIT-RM artist Nam Phi Dang will speak about his photography practice, followed by a tour of Ken Lum’s A Matter of Life and Death and Nam Phi Dang's Somewhere Else by AGM Curator Kendra Ainsworth.