Events > Publishing

31 Mar. 2006

Untitled by Brian Jungen

Brian Jungen
6:00pm - 8:0

Brian Jungen, one of Canada’s most exciting artists has created this limited edition of goalie masks that he sees as an “interesting place to put a subversive message. In the corporate world of branding in professional sports, the painted goalie mask stands alone as a personalised emblem of the individual who wears it.” Ever alert to issues of representation and commodity, Jungen has worked with masks before. In his famous series, Prototype for New Understanding, he created unique masks reflecting North West Coast Aboriginal design, using materials from Nike running shoes. In this series he has flipped the process, creating unique patterns for mass produced equipment.
As with earliers works, such as his Talking Stick series, Jungen uses words to create an intricate visual design, while at the same time delivering a simple, loaded message. The goalie masks are decorated with the phrase “human nature”, each word mirrored to form pairs of perfect opposites. The phrase can be taken in several different ways: a poke at essentialism, a reference to violence, a call for the burring of distinctions between humans and nature, the reflections of nature in humans and vice versa. In keeping with Jungen’s practice, the references are loaded and multiple. These masks are potent. But they are also humorous. Jungen admits to making “a fun nod” to his earlier work and a desire create something explicitly Canadian. Painted professionally by Toronto hockey helmet airbrush specialist Steve Nash, each helmet is unique and complete. Says Jungen, “I like to think that someone who buys one will actually use it.”

Brian Jungen was born in Fort St. John BC. He moved to Vancouver to attend Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, where he graduated in 1992. He was awarded the inaugural Sobey Art Award in 2002. Jungen’s work has received critical acclaim, and has been exhibited internationally in Europe, USA, and Asia. He has upcoming exhibitions at the Tate Modern, and the Sao Paulo Biennale. Today he lives and works in Vancouver.

Untitled, by Brian Jungen
Art Metropole, Toronto, 2006. A varied edition of 10, plus one artist proof, and one production proof. Custom painted Vaughn 5500 Pro goalie mask. $12000.00 CDN.

Brian Jungen was born in 1970 on a family farm north of Fort St. John, British Columbia. His father was Swiss born and immigrated to British Columbia with his family when he was three years old. Jungen’s mother was Aboriginal, a member of the Dane-zaa Nation. Jungen was seven years old when both his parents perished in a fire. After which he was raised by his fathers’ sister and her husband. Jungen recalls his mother’s ability to adapt objects to new uses, something he now famously does within his artistic practice. He recalls “She was constantly trying to extend the life of things, packages, utensils. Once we had to use the back end of a pickup truck as an extension for our hog pen.”

In 1988 he moved to Vancouver to attend the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He graduated four years later with a Diploma of Visual Art. After which he moved to Montreal and New York City prior to returning to Vancouver.

In 1998 he took part in a self-directed residency at The Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta. This residency would become the tipping point in his career. As it was there that he began to work on his now famous Prototypes for New Understanding (1998-2005); a series of sculptures he created by disassembling and reassembling Nike Air Jordan sneakers to resemble Northwest Coast Aboriginal masks. He would go on to explore his interest in using sports paraphernalia creating sculptures out of catchers mitts, baseball bats, and basket ball jerseys. Jungen has stated that it is a deliberate choice to create works out of materials produced by the sports industry; an industry that appropriates Aboriginal terminology, such as the team names The Chiefs, Indians, Redskins and Braves. However Jungen’s work is not exclusively tied to his heritage. He has stated “My involvement with my family and traditions is personal – it’s not where my art comes from.”

His interest in architecture and in particular Buckminster Fuller is also evident in his practice with his creation of multiple shelters for humans, animals and birds. Overriding the majority of his work is Jungen’s ability to disassemble and reassemble objects maintaining the integrity and meaning of his source material and yet creating new possibilities for meaning Shapeshifter (2000) / Transmutation (2000).

Brian Jungen was the winner of the inaugural Sobey Art Award in 2002 and the 2010 Gershon Iskowitz Prize.


Untitled by Brian Jungen.

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