Venice Biennale | Stan Douglas: Our Story in Pictures

Representing Canada at 59And The Venice Biennale, Stan Douglas, presents, there, until November 27, two installations that provoke social unrest, revolutions and pretensions. The Vancouver artist compares the events of 2011 with those of the European revolutions of 1848. He evokes the way popular movements are shaped and the way countries respond or not.

Posted on April 29

Eric Kleiman

Eric Kleiman
Journalism

The Venice Biennale is the only international exhibition of visual arts to which Canada sends an official representation. This has been the case since her first participation, in 1952, in these Olympic Games of Contemporary Art. But in 70 years, this is the first time the selected Canadian artist has shown his work at two locations in the City of Doges. The Stan Douglas exhibition takes place on the one hand inside the Canadian Pavilion, in the green Giardini, and on the other in the rooms of Magazzini del Sale n° 5, the ancient salt depository in the Dorsoduro region.

Photo provided by NGC

Stan Douglas, at the opening of his exhibition at the Canada Pavilion, in Venice, on April 20

Stan Douglas chose two locations because the brightness of the Canadian pavilion caused a problem with the presentation of his video ISDN – On two screens – which he wanted in complete darkness. This installation and photographic prints displayed in the pavilion are part of the collection 2011 ≠ 1848The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is curated by Red Sher, director of the Polygon Gallery in Vancouver, and a fine connoisseur of the work of Stan Douglas.

This work was created specifically for the Biennale, which was supposed to take place in 2021, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Stan Douglas chose Celebration Number 10And Anniversary of four social events that occurred in 2011 as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and the Arab Spring. His photographic prints are a reconstruction (created in the Vancouver agrodome) of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York, a protest rally in Tunisia, the Vancouver riots after the defeat of the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final and clashes between youth and police in the Hackney area of ​​London.

Photo by Stan Douglas, provided by NGC

New York, October 10, 2011from the Italian League 2011 ≠ 1848, 2021, chromogenic print on debond, 150 x 300 cm. Courtesy of Stan Douglas, Victoria Miro, and David Zwerner.

His large “Pictures” are a mixture, on computer, of scenes and feasts shot that he produced at the Agrodome with extras. The aim of this work – which is very expensive – is to compare the popular movements of 2011 with the rebellions of 1848 in Europe during which a part of the population wanted more democracy and the end of authoritarian regimes. This “Spring of Peoples”, which began in Italy in January 1848, had noticeable and lasting repercussions for some countries.

Stan Douglas notes that in 2011 the grievances of the Arab Spring could not be said as those of young Britons and New Yorkers were heard. “Unlike in 1848, the authorities paid little attention to the protests,” he says, noting that Brexit and the Black Lives Matter movement. Not to mention the discontent of the indigenous Canadian population and the rebellion of African immigrants. He points out that the internet has failed to unite such protests globally, not least because social media have become places of entertainment and venting resentment, rather than spaces for solidarity and promoting reforms.

Photo by Stan Douglas, provided by NGC

Tunisia, January 23, 2011from the Italian League 2011 ≠ 1848, 2021, Stan Douglas, chromogenic print on debond, 150 x 300 cm. Courtesy of artist Victoria Miro and David Zwerner.

In the Magazzini building, two videos of . were shownISDNFilmed one in London and the other in Cairo, she reveals these persistent frustrations. Two black British rappers and two Egyptian rappers seem to unite in the same rage thanks to the music. Some sing their anger at the discrimination that blacks suffer in Great Britain. Others express in a more poetic and less direct way their dissatisfaction with the authoritarian regime prevailing in Egypt.

Photo by Stan Douglas, provided by NGC

ISDN, 2022, Stan Douglas, Two-channel video installation still image. London: Introduction, TrueMendous; Background, Lady Mind. Courtesy of Stan Douglas, Victoria Miro, and David Zwerner.

For the image part as in the video part, 2011 ≠ 1848 It raises awareness of the risks countries are exposed to in leaving social issues unresolved. The international effects of inaction on politics. This is the fifth time that Stan Douglas has participated in the Venice Biennale. First time alone. We can also see with his gallery Narrative unveilingpresented until May 22 at the Phi Foundation, his polished, captivating and stunning portraits have such depth that makes the richness of art.

Photo by Stan Douglas, provided by NGC

ISDN, 2022, Stan Douglas, Two-channel video installation still image. Cairo: Joker. Courtesy of Stan Douglas, Victoria Miro, and David Zwerner.

“Through his profound reflections on an imagined past and a present that may have generated, Stan Douglas invites us for decades to better understand and critically examine our reality,” says Simon Broult, Director and Managing Director of the Canadian Council of the Arts. Exhibition partner.

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