You may never look at shoeboxes the same way again. This summer, the AGO welcomes an exciting solo exhibition by Brian Jungen, the B.C.-based artist internationally renowned for sculptures and installations made from repurposed consumer goods. The exhibition, curated by Kitty Scott, the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the AGO, will include many new and recent sculptures and masks, as well as an epic film installation. And for the first time, Jungen will exhibit his archive – materials that have inspired his work – neatly packed in 400 Nike shoeboxes.
Since 1998, Jungen has been transforming Nike Air Jordan sneakers into sculptures, some of which resemble Northwest Coast masks and Plains Indian headdresses. “My work is largely about transforming things, but these sneakers also speak about where I come from. Nike Air Jordan’s are popular among Indigenous youth,” Jungen says.
An artist of mixed European and Indigenous heritage, who emerged in the Vancouver art scene 20 years ago, Jungen’s work engages with Indigenous materials and traditions as well as pop culture and Western art history. “With this exhibition, I’m thinking about where I came from and where I might be going,” Jungen says. “I’m excited to be able to take a look at my body of work – both existing and new – and present it at the AGO in a reimagined way.”
Another highlight is Cetology (2002), a stunning 48-foot long sculpture of a whale skeleton. Constructed out of plastic patio chairs, it will be suspended from the ceiling.
A recipient of the prestigious Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO, this is the first large-scale exhibition of Jungen’s work in Toronto since his 2011 AGO exhibition Tomorrow, Repeated. It’s also the first time the AGO will host a solo exhibition by an Indigenous Canadian artist in the Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion – the AGO’s largest temporary exhibition space.
Stay tuned for more AGOinsider stories about this exciting exhibition. Brian Jungen runs at the AGO from June 20 to August 25, 2019. Be sure to check it out!
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