Curatorial Statement – Nigel Prince on WHO KNOWS
December 04, 2013
Arguably best known for his work with Forced Entertainment, Tim Etchells has developed his own practice as an artist outside of their ground-breaking performances; his solo work diverse, moving from a base in performance into visual art and fiction. By partnering up, the Contemporary Art Gallery and PuSh can present the full diversity of this key artist to Vancouver audiences.
Who Knows, the new neon commission to be presented across the façade of the CAG, is typical of Etchells’ approach in any form in that something happens – there is an encounter, a process, the unfolding of an event and an exploration of the dynamic relationship between the work and the viewer. Who Knows reveals a fascination with rules and systems in language and culture, in the way these structures are both productive and constraining. Individual phrases produce a playfully paranoid flavor, yet one that shifts to take on the surveillance/ watching topic that’s even more on our minds since the first leaks of information in May by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Through the repetition of phrases, the text implies an event or an idea that is at once unraveled and assembled. The mechanisms and economies of this process – of exposure and concealment, construction and deconstruction, appearance and disappearance – are at the heart of what Etchells does.
Executive Director, Contemporary Art Gallery