Media breakfast and preview: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 11.00 a.m.
Opening: Friday, April 19, 2013, 8 p.m.
The Canadian artist Brian Jungen (born 1970), a descendent of the native North
American Dane-Zaa people, examines the relationship between native and global
culture in his large-scale sculptures and installations. The solo exhibition by the
documenta 13 participant concentrates on his works from recent years, which
are being shown for the first time in Europe, in addition to his newest pieces.
Jungen transforms in his multifaceted artworks objects related to modern life,
consumerism and entertainment into traditional objects from Native American
life. A series of drums constructed according to time-honored handicrafts was
thus made from mass-produced classics of designer chairs. An imposing ensemble
of 3.5 meter high totem poles was made out of golf bags. A further series
consisting of woven blankets produced from basketball or baseball uniforms as
the source material will be restaged at the Kunstverein. These pieces are given an
entirely new meaning to the extent that the names reference team such as the
Indians or Red Skins, and hence often the cliché of the “wild” Indian.
At the core of Jungen’s translation of items of western consumerism and entertainment
into the formal vocabulary of cult objects is a critical discourse on and
juxtaposition of Native American traditions and western value systems, without,
however, making a value judgment. The Canadian artist is not concerned with
reanimating a marginalized pictorial language or symbolism but rather with questioning
cultural stereotypes and production conditions in the age of global networking.
In an equally ironic and enigmatic fashion, Jungen’s sculptures combine the vocabulary
of contemporary as well as traditional cults. Starting with the massproduced
objects from everyday globalized life, their fragmentation and reassembly,
Jungen develops countless transformational variations, making it clear
that images draw their power from in equal measure from reality, cliché and
projection. Jungen’s complex works are symbioses of the incompatible that overcome
the boundaries between illustrative ethnological objects and commodity
fetishism, mythological symbol and cheap mass products.
The exhibition has been organized in cooperation with the Bonner Kunstverein
and will be on show there from November 2013.