Purchased with funds from the Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund, Jean MacMillan Southam Art Acquisition Endowment Fund and donations by Phil Lind and Wesgroup Properties.
Jeff Wall, "Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009"
Jeff Wall, "Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009" Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women’s Club. Virginia Newton-Moss wears a British ensemble c. 1910, from the Sayers’ collection, 2009, chromogenic print, Collection of the VAG
May 1, 2012
Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Art Gallery has added major works by renowned Vancouver-based artist Jeff Wall, Chinese artist Song Dong and noted First Nations artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun to its permanent collection. The new works include Jeff Wall’s Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009. Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women's Club. Virginia Newton-Moss wears a British ensemble c. 1910, from Sayers' collection, Song Dong’s Fill in the Sea, an installation of 168 photographs which the artist created to mark the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, and the soaring 4.8 metre tall canvas by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun entitled Burying Another Face of Racism on First Nations Soil.
“We are thrilled to add the work of these influential artists to our permanent collection,” said Gallery director Kathleen Bartels. “Wall has played a key role in establishing photography as a contemporary art form, and is one of the most significant artists working in the world today. Song Dong has been a major figure on the contemporary art scene in China since the early 1980s, and we are delighted to add this significant painting by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun to the Gallery’s holdings of his works.”
The Gallery’s collection of Jeff Wall’s works now numbers thirteen, the largest collection of works by this internationally acclaimed artist in a public museum. This latest acquisition addresses the power dynamic between men and women, and reflects on the roles of observer and observed. The architectural motifs and mirrors depicted in the image recall the historical era of Edouard Manet’s 19th century painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Similar to Manet’s painting, Wall’s photograph addresses the spectacular role of the female body in modern bourgeois culture. However, unlike the patrons of Manet’s bar, the audience for Sayers lecture is made up primarily of women, who have gathered to consider the historical role fashion has played in situating them as social subjects.
Song Dong exhibited his monumental installation Waste Not at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2010-2011. Fill in the Sea marks the Gallery’s first acquisition of the artist’s work for its permanent collection. Comprised of 168 photographs, the work shows Song Dong painting the years 1840 through 1997 in water on a stone. The years signify British colonial activities in China, beginning with the Opium Wars in 1840 and ending with the transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Song Dong created this work in 1997, the day before Hong Kong was ceded. Fill in the Sea is a superb example of the performative nature of the artist’s practice, as well as his interest in the meditative and transient. Fill in the Sea will be presented in the upcoming exhibition Again and Again and Again: Serial Formats and Repetitive Actions, which opens on May 12th.
The Gallery has also acquired Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s Burying Another Face of Racism on First Nations Soil, an important canvas by this increasingly renowned indigenous artist. This painting reflects Yuxweluptun’s interest in expressing the enduring marginalization of First Nations peoples in contemporary society and promoting change. Assuming the monumental scale traditionally afforded only to historical or mythological subject matter in Western painting, Burying Another Face of Racism on First Nations Soil confronts the viewer with a powerful image of Aboriginal figures quite literally putting racism to rest. Generously donated to the Gallery by Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa, the painting was recently presented as part of the enormously successful exhibition Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection.
The acquisition of these major works, along with several others, brings the number of works of art in the Gallery’s permanent collection to 10,269.