Come On, Get Up!, 1991
dye coupler print and enamel paint on aluminum
182.4 x 292.2 x 5.9 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 36668)
© Ken Lum
Vancouver-based artist Ken Lum works in sculpture, installation, painting, performance, and photography, choosing the form best suited to each project. Drawing on Conceptual, Minimal, and Pop Art influences, Lum's work considers how stereotypes of race, class and gender circulate within advertising, mass media and the broader realm of popular culture. "Come On, Get Up!" is part of the artist's "Portrait Attribute" series in which he combines a photographic portrait with captions painted in stylized lettering suggestive of a commercial sign, or, in this case, as though drawn from an Andy Capp comic. Image and text compete to create a wryly conflicted portrait. Lum sees this work as an ironic commentary on the political climate of 1991, then dominated by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and their "pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps" politics.