Exhibitions by Milutin Gubash and Marcus Coates
Opening at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery
Milutin Gubash Remote Viewing True Stories
June 22 to September 9, 2012
The work of Milutin Gubash is predominately based on the history and reality of his family – a common enough subject for artists. Less typical is the inclusion of his actual family performing their lives, with Gubash in a starring role, using media formats that range from newspaper headlines and advertising to television sitcoms and soap operas. Indeed, his story makes for good TV; a cast of rich characters overcome adversity and political strife and successfully escape former Communist Yugoslavia to begin a new life, with new issues, in Canada.
This exhibition is part of collective effort with four other arts organizations to examine the last ten years of Gubash's practice. Each curator worked with a particular focus, be it Gubash's sustained use of family and friends, or in SAAG's case, his adoption and adaptation of the sitcom and other media formats. Newspaper headlines from the Calgary Herald are revisited in earlier projects like Playing Possum and Re-enacting Tragedies While My Parents Look On, while his signature work, Born Rich, Getting Poorer, presents six episodes of a DIY sitcom positioning Gubash and his family in a series of mishaps both banal and burlesque. With the addition of 'fake' paintings, web-projects, newspaper interventions and comic strips, Remote Viewing: True Stories is a comprehensive look at a practice that shares the private matters of a family in formats that are distinctly public. In light of reality television, YouTube, Facebook and other contexts where intimate narratives are played out in mass media, Gubash's work participates in a timely discourse about the construction and performance of our identity, our history and the relationships that bind them.
Born in Novi Sad (Serbia) and living in Montréal (Québec) since 2005, Milutin Gubash has mounted exhibitions in Québec, Canada, the United States, and Europe, including recent solo shows in Montréal at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (LOTS, 2007), and Optica (Born Rich, Getting Poorer, 2009), Galerie 3015 in Paris and RLBQ in Marseille (Which Way to the Bastille?, 2008). Remote Viewing: True Stories is part of a ten-year survey exhibition presented by Rodman Hall Art Centre (St. Catharine's ON), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa ON), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (Kitchener ON), Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge AB), and the Musée d'art de Joliette (Joliette QC). A major monographic publication created in collaboration with these five institutions will be released in late 2012.
Marcus Coates Stories From the Lower World
June 22 to September 9, 2012
"The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities"
– Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus
In the front room of a Liverpool tower complex slated for demolition, Marcus Coates calls upon a host of animal spirit guides for consultation in an effort to aid and comfort the evicted tenants. His audience, primarily consisting of elderly men and women, sit bewildered and amused as Coates descends in to what he calls the "Lower World," a state of being where one can no longer distinguish between the artist and sparrow hawk, moorhen, or stag. He struts, flaps, barks, grunts and clucks as he encounters these creatures one by one until, eventually, one of their actions strikes him as significant and a message can be deciphered or devined.
The artist is a shaman – a buck's antlered head and hide worn over his sweater and slacks, and at his side, mystical tools from pen lid nostril flutes to house key shoe rattles. Even his Reebok athletic shoes, named after an African antelope, have 'potential attributes and power in the spirit world.' Confronted by absurd costumes and bizarre rituals, his audiences seem hard pressed whether to laugh out loud or get up and leave, yet in the end Coates' sincerity inevitably replaces cynicism and skepticism with optimism and hope.
Stories from the Lower World features three of Coates' most significant works to date: Journey to the Lower World, The Plover's Wing and Kamikuchi. Each film features the artist as shaman, who with an earnestness to lend a hand, addresses problems that move from eviction and illegal bicycle parking to the politics of the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. His work is revealed as a serious endeavour reflecting on humanity and our ontological conventions as they surface through our connection with others (animals). The ensuing questions link real people with real issues, however superficial they might seem, and express our humanity in a manner that would in fact be familiar to indigenous cultures all around the world. Participating in a conversation that includes Deleuze & Guattari's seminal writing on 'mutual becoming' to Joseph Beuys' embodiment of the shaman, Coates' work is a rich investigation of the spiritual and social potential of art.
Marcus Coates (born 1968) lives and works in London, England with his videos, performances and installations being shown internationally. Recent exhibitions include: Altermodern, Tate Triennial, London, 2009; Lisson Presents 2, Lisson Gallery, London, 2008; Manifesta7, Trento, Italy, 2008; Kunsthalle Zurich 2009; Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo 2009; Sydney Biennial 2010. Coates received the Paul Hamlyn Visual Arts Award in 2008 and the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize in 2009. He was the Calouste Gulbenkian Artist in Residence in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, 2008.
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Southern Alberta Art Gallery
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