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By the light of the moon

August 9th, 2019

Brian Jungen. Moon, 2013. Steel, deer hide, trabant fenders, freezer, Overall: 258 × 130 × 71 cm. Promised Gift of Robin and Malcolm Anthony. © Brian Jungen, Photo: SITE Photography

What do deep freezers, auto parts and animal hides have in common? According to artist Brian Jungen, these items are used extensively in Indigenous communities across Northern Canada. He recognizes these materials as being “part of the vocabulary of the community” and are therefore fitting source materials for his sculpture, Moon, on view now as part of Brian Jungen Friendship Centre.

In 2011, Jungen presented an exhibition of new works that were shown together at the AGO in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, including The Men of My Family, which is on view alongside Moon. Inspired by his time spent with his family in Northern B.C., Jungen used materials common in Northern communities, including elk hides, car parts and deep freezers. Jungen would go on to continue this series in 2013 for a large international exhibition in Germany. The works fittingly incorporated these pieces of the community alongside German car parts – Trabant in Moon (2013), Audi in Companion (2013), and Volkswagen in Mother Tongue (2013).

Jungen explains that the use of car parts and steel pieces create very clean and simple shapes throughout the series. In Moon, the circular form created from the steel and interwoven with the animal hide suggests a lunar landscape.

Jungen, known for taking pre-existing materials and changing them in ways that tell a new story, describes Moon as an homage to his family and their history. Growing up in a community where hunting is common, Jungen’s source materials have a deep connection to his identity.

Get a closer look at Moon, and listen to Jungen’s description of the sculpture in the video below.

Want more? See Moon, Companion and Mother Tongue in person in Brian Jungen Friendship Centre, on now until August 25.

Admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions is always free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 and under. For more information, please visit the website.

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