white polypropylene plastic chairs
125 x 850 x 130 cm
Purchased 2004 with the Joy Thomson Fund for the Acquisition of Art by Young Canadian Artists, National Gallery of Canada Foundation
National Gallery of Canada (no. 41341)
"Vienna" is the third in a series of whale sculptures that Brian Jungen began in 2000 with his work titled "Shapeshifter" - a reference to a belief, common to many traditional cultures, in the shape-shifting abilities of supernatural creatures. "Vienna", like the earlier work, is also created from hundreds of cut-up plastic patio chairs. Here, the title demystifies an aspect of the transformation of the chairs by drawing attention to the place they were purchased and the site of the sculpture’s construction. Collectively, these ubiquitous chairs form a series of transactions, with each individual purchase then being broken apart and rejoined as something altogether new. By rendering this transmutation through his artistic process, Jungen leads us to consider our own purchasing habits and the cycle of consumption we support when we purchase disposable commodities.