Events > Book Launch

29 Mar. 2003

Book launch for James Carl, Bill Burns, Trevor Gould and Mark Vatnsdal

James Carl, Bill Burns, Mark Vatnsdal, Trevor Gould, and Flock Gaggle Herd
Mercer Union
1 pm - 5 pm
In this Series

07 Sep. 2002
Book launch for James Carl's Content 1.0

h.1Art Metropole and Mercer Union released two new artist’s books at Art Metropole: Content 1.0 by James Carl and Urban Fauna Information Station by Bill Burns, Trevor Gould & Mark Vatnsdal

Artists James Carl and Bill Burns were in attendance.

Content 1.0 by James Carl

An incomplete inventory, a clip art forgery, a mannered manual, James Carl’s Content 1.0 stakes the materially indispensable against the graphically insignificant. Flirting with dingbats, Ikea instructions, dover digests, and other benchmarks of the pictographic inconsequent, this artist’s book puts the super back into superfluous. The drawings in the book are taken from an on-going series of disposable product containers rendered in a variety of conventional, generic drawing styles.

Available as a pc and mac compatible font on the accompanying CD.

manual: 15.5 × 20.5 cm, b/w drawings, softcover

font: mac and pc compatible CD-rom

$48.00 regular edition with CD insert(#003311) $80.00 special signed and numbered edition of 20 with adhesive multiple insert (no wholesale discount available) (#003509) 104 pp., 15.5 X 20.5 cm. b/w drawings, soft-cover

Co-published by Art Metropole and Mercer Union

Urban Fauna Information Station by Bill Burns, Trevor Gould & Mark Vatnsdal

A story in pictures which, documents the adventures of the Urban Fauna Information Station in Montreal and Toronto, 2001-2002.

$10.00 special launch price

Co-published by Flock Gaggle Herd and Mercer Union

Both titles available for sale through Art Metropole and Mercer Union.

Based in Toronto, James Carl is one of the city’s leading artists. He creates small- and large-scale sculpture, made from a wide range of materials, from cardboard to marble, to venetian blinds. In the early 1990s Carl entered the art scene in Montreal by crafting expensive consumer goods (washing machines, stoves) from inexpensive materials such as found cardboard, only to place the finished sculptures back on the streets where their materials were originally retrieved. In a subsequent body of work, Carl carved replicas of disposable electronics out of marble – a traditional sculptor’s material with connotations of permanence. Most recently, Carl constructs large-scale, amorphous sculptures by intricately weaving brightly coloured venetian blinds in a series titled jalousie.

Carl has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Most recently, the first major survey of his work, entitled do you know what, was presented at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto, the Cambridge Galleries Queen’s Square and the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph. Other recent shows include: jalousie at Galerie Heinz-Martin Weigand in Karlsruhe, Germany; negative spaces at Florence Loewy in Paris; plot at Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery, and bottom feeder at Mercer Union in Toronto. Carl earned his MFA from Rutgers University and has degrees from McGill, the University of Victoria and the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. His work is in public and private collections across North America and Europe. Currently, Carl is an Associate Professor of Studio Art at the University of Guelph.

Bill Burns was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1957 and has lived and worked as an artist in Toronto, Canada and London, England. His work consists mainly of conceptual writings, artists’ books and multiples. He studied under Gerard Hemsworth, Jon Thompson and John Latham at Goldsmiths College in London, England. He is known for his Safety Gear for Small Animals (SGSA) which was first shown at 303 Gallery in New York in 1994 and later at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005/2006 and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 2008. His 2002 project Everything I Could Buy on eBay About Malaria which was shown at the Wellcome Trust in London, England is considered a seminal work in the area of electronic collecting. His work about life in the art world known as Veblen Goods was shown at MASS MoCA in 2012.

Burns has published numerous books including When Pain Strikes (Burns, Busby, Sawchuk), a critical anthology about pain and pain relief, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1999. Other book titles include Analgesia (Rochefort,Montreal, 1993), How to Help Animals Escape from Degraded Habitats (Optica, Montreal, 1996), Urban Fauna Information Station (Mercer Union, Toronto, 2002), Safety Gear for Small Animals (MOCCA, Toronto and California State University, Fullerton, 2005) Bird Radio (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig, Cologne, 2007) and The Flora and Fauna Information Service – 0.800.0.0FAUNA0FLORA (ICA, London, 2008). Burns has also published dozens of guides, posters, and editions. His editions are included in major museum collections throughout the world.

Burns’ work has been exhibited in major museums and biennial exhibitions since the nineteen nineties. His most notable exhibitions include the ICA in London, the MoMA in New York as well as Forum Arte y Vida at the Havana Bienal in Havana, Cuba in 2003, the Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2007 and the Quebec City Biennial – Manif d’art 5, in 2010.

“I work from the insight that sculpture is a form of social material and that my exhibitions involve the production of artwork that can be viewed as a form of cultural research.”

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Trevor Gould studied at the Johannesburg College of Art and at the University of South Africa. Gould arrived in Canada in 1980. Currently, he lives and works in Montreal, where he teaches at Concordia University.

Gould’s work can be interpreted as an exploration of the way images and objects represent the beliefs, attitudes, and values in our social history. A prime concern for Gould is the interior mapping that guides and mediates our actions and our sense of presence in the world. His work thus addresses issues of our awareness and understanding of cultural space. From the constructive process to interpretative explorations, Gould focuses on recurring themes such as appropriation, power and representation. Through his work he draws on the symbolism of various flora and fauna, evoking a nature/culture relationship in order to explore issues of colonialism, post-colonialism and identity formation. Often installed in non-conventional exhibition venues, such as a botanical garden, a public park, or natural museum, his multimedia productions include photos, watercolours, drawings, life-size sculptures and site-specific installations. His works therefore embody his commentaries on the transfer of cultural patterns and the appropriation of form, or a point of view from which to contemplate world geography, history and traditions. Through his constructed flora and fauna, plants and animals serve as a metaphor for geographical locations and represent the domination of one culture over another. In most of his installations, Gould appropriates museological apparatus and in so doing questions the role of the museum. His installation, Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public, is a good example of this strategy.

Organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 1998, Posing for the Public is an exhibition that gathers artifacts and archival material from the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, and Gould’s own work. Through this project he challenges the traditional interpretations of nature by appropriating exhibition techniques – such as diorama, taxidermy, theatrical presentation and archival documents – and offers a reconsideration of our past and present relationships with nature. Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public has been presented nationally and internationally.

Trevor Gould’s work has been shown in Canada and abroad, where he has taken part in a number of solo and group exhibitions. Among the most recent solo exhibitions are – Poser pour le public, Centre d’art contemporain Basse Normandie, Canadian Cultural Center, Paris, France (2002); Pictorial Living, Arte Giani, Frankfurt, Germany (2001); Trevor Gould, Art lab, Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria (2001); Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (1998); African Pavilion, Galerie Rochefort, Montreal (1995); Trevor Gould: Inventing a Homeland, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa (1993). Group exhibitions in which Gould has participated are : Il Tempo Della Profezia, Casale Monferato, Italy (2002); Moving ideas: Dust on The Road, MAI Centre culturel, Montreal (2001); New Republics: Contemporary Art from Australia, Canada, and South Africa, Edmonton Art Gallery, Canada (2000); Living Sculpture – Le Grand Réservoir, C.H.U. De Bicetre, Paris, France (1999); The Leaf Thief, la Biennale de Montreal, CIAC (1998); Blaast, Galerie Rochefort, Montreal (1997); Leda e il Cigno,Galerie Alberto Weber, Turin (1996); Africus ’95: 1st Johannesburg biennale, Johannesburg (1995).

In addition, Gould’s works have been the subject of a number of catalogue essays. His work is also included in numerous public institution collections: the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the City of Ottawa, the Banff Centre Library Collection; and in private collections in Canada, USA, Poland, Germany and Italy.

Trevor Gould has recently finished Three Dimensional Blur with Digital Wind and Accessories.This project builds on the narrative ideas of his work entitled The Leaf Thief, (2) an interrogation of the relationship between landscape and identity and a critique of the persisting imperialist exploitation of natural resources.

Three Dimensional Blur with Digital Wind and Accessories is also an experimental work that aimed to develop existing mould-making materials enhanced through digital manipulations in 3 D printing and through muscle wire manipulations. As such, it expands on his present working methods.

(Dominique Fontaine © 2004 Fondation Daniel Langlois)

Collaborative project by artists Bill Burns, Trevor Gould and Mark Vatnsdal.

Mandate / Vision

Mercer Union, A Centre for Contemporary Art is an artist-run centre dedicated to the existence of contemporary art. We provide a forum for the production and exhibition of Canadian and international contemporary art and related cultural practices. We pursue our primary concerns through critical activities that include exhibitions, lectures, screenings, performances, publications, events and special projects.

Brief History

Established and incorporated in 1979, Mercer Union began as an artist-run centre through the collective efforts of artists who believed in alternative art production and presentation. Throughout our thirty year history, we have maintained ambitious programming, exhibiting national and international artists and presenting cultural professionals both in formative and established stages of their careers.

Artistic Policy and Role

We support the professional development of artists and provide a place to stimulate discussions between national and international artists. One of our main objectives is to support the creation and development of new and site-specific work, and often premiering international artists’ work alongside that of local artists.

We maintain an open call for submissions for artists working in all media. The Board and Co-Directors also assume an active role in programming, soliciting projects and curating group exhibitions in order to maintain an overall cohesion and perspective from year to year.


Located in downtown Toronto, we recognize that our primary audience is made of local art producers. Our objective is to inform our local and international audiences and stimulate artistic practice by producing and presenting challenging work and by creating ways for our local audience to participate on an international level, while promoting Canadian art and artists internationally.


2: Bill Burns and Andy Patterson at the launch.
3: Crystal and artist Bill Burns.

  1. Book launch for James Carl, Bill Burns, Trevor Gould and Mark Va
  2. Book launch for James Carl, Bill Burns, Trevor Gould and Mark Va
  3. Book launch for James Carl, Bill Burns, Trevor Gould and Mark Va
  4. Book launch for James Carl, Bill Burns, Trevor Gould and Mark Va