Gold and Silver: Images and Illusions of the Gold Rush
A new interpretation of a seminal, American-identity building event through exquisite historical images – November 3, 2017 to April 2, 2018
Frontera: Views of the U.S.-Mexico Border
Eight photographic installations of the border between the United States and Mexico taken between 1997 and 2017 – November 3, 2017 to April 2, 2018
PhotoLab 3: Between Friends
Canadian photographer Andrea Rutkauskas’ photos of the longest international border in the world – November 3, 2017 to February 16, 2018
The fall-winter season at the Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) of the National Gallery of Canada opens November 3 with three exhibitions, each exploring borders, territory, and migration: Gold and Silver: Images and Illusions of the Gold Rush; Frontera: Views of the U.S.-Mexico Border, and PhotoLab 3: Between Friends.
Gold and Silver: Images and illusions of the Gold Rush
Organized by the Canadian Photography Institute in partnership with Library and Archives Canada, this exhibition was made possible thanks to the gift of “The Origins of Photography” collection from the Archive of Modern Conflict. More than 150 images, most of them never exhibited before, tell a story of the hopes, dreams, and illusions of an entire generation of pioneers during North America’s two great gold rushes: the California gold rush of 1849, and the Klondike gold rush of 1896, which led to the establishment of the Yukon Territory.
In the second half of the 19th century, legions of prospectors left everything behind to set off in search of gold. As the 1850s dawned, the encounter between these new Argonauts and the daguerreotype, a silver-based process only recently invented and the first that was publicly available, was immediate and intense. Forty years later, photography followed the gold rush to the Yukon. The medium underwent a profound transformation in between.
While California’s boom-towns slowly faded to ghost towns in the 1870s, Daguerre’s mirror, now obsolete, made way for processes closer to the kind that would later emerge in the 20th century.
Two great moments in the history of photography came to pass: between the gold rush of 1848 that began in San Francisco and the 1896 gold rush that began in Dawson City, photography evolved from single images on metal to multiple images on glass or paper.
Whether on metal or paper, all of the images have gold in common.
“The fact that we are able to delight in these images today is thanks to the fact that back in their day they were given a gold bath, a metal more noble and stable than silver. For most taken in the 1850s, daguerreotypes present a crispness and exceptional depth, and were often enhanced with colour and touches of gold. The young Argonauts look back at us with shining eyes and seem so close. Photography was fresh and new back then, just like these Western adventurers,” commented the exhibition curator, Luce Lebart, Director of the Canadian Photography Institute and author of the exhibition’s companion book, Gold and Silver, co-published by the Canadian Photography Institute and RVB-BOOKS.
Frontera: Views of the U.S.-Mexico Border
Frontera, organized by the Canadian Photography Institute in collaboration with the FotoMexico festival, features eight photographic installations of the U.S.-Mexico border. Taken between 1997 and 2017, the images question the very notion of borders, attempt to define their limits, and explore how they are represented. Images by Mexicans Pablo Lopez Luz and Alejandro Cartagena echo others by Canadians Mark Ruwedel and Geoffrey James, Swiss-born Adrien Missika, American Kirsten Luce and German Daniel Schwarz.
The variety of images in this exhibition is complimented by the many ways they are presented - from accordion books, to projections, to wallpaper to images captured by drones flying over the border.
PhotoLab 3: Between Friends
On display until February 16, 2018, the third exhibition in CPI’s experimental space PhotoLab, features the work of young Winnipeg born, Calgary-based photographer Andreas Rutkauskas. He spent several years travelling, often on foot, photographing the Canada- United States border – the longest international border in the world. This work was inspired by and pays tribute to the book, Between friends/Entre amis, sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada and published in 1976 to commemorate the American bicentennial.
Designed and written by Luce Lebart with RVB-BOOKS, the 128 page publication traces the origins of daguerreotypes, featuring images from the 1849 California gold rush. Gold and Silver is a co-publication by the Canadian Photography Institute and RVB BOOKS. Copies are on sale in the Gallery’s Boutique and online for $40. The book is also distributed internationally by RVB-BOOKS.
Meet the artists: Photographers take the floor
On Saturday, November 4, from 1 pm to 4 pm, the National Gallery of Canada’s Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) offers visitors a Photographers Take the Floor tour of its new exhibitions, Frontera and PhotoLab3: Between Friends . Luce Lebart, Director of CPI and curator of the exhibitions, and photographers Alejandro Cartagena, Kirsten Luce, Pablo Lopez Luz, Andreas Rutkauskas and Daniel Schwarz lead the tour, which takes the form of a conversation. In English, with a bilingual question period. Drop-in activity. No advance registration required. Space is limited. Included with admission to the Gallery. For more information, visit:https://www.gallery.ca/whats-on/calendar/photographers-take-the-floor
The Canadian Photography Institute’s galleries are open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5 pm, and until 8 pm on Thursdays. Closed on Mondays. Open noon to 5pm November 11, 2017 (Remembrance Day), December 26 to 31, 2017 (Holiday Period), February 19, 2018 (Ontario Family Day), March 5, 2018 (Quebec March Break), and March 12, 2018 (Ontario March Break), For more information, visit https://www.gallery.ca/visit/hours-and-admission
Tickets: $15 (adults); $13 (seniors and full-time students); $7 (24 and under/students); $30 (families: two adults and three youth, 17 and under). Admission is free for children 11 and under, and for Members. Includes admission to the NGC Collection. Free admission for all visitors on Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm. For more information, visit https://www.gallery.ca/visit/hours-and-admission.
About the Canadian Photography Institute
The Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada is a creative and innovative centre dedicated to sharing, collecting, and questioning photography in all its forms. It brings people and communities together at the museum, online, and around publications to see, appreciate, and study photography.
The Canadian Photography Institute, was established in 2015 and officially launched in October 2016. Its collections build upon the National Gallery’s Photographs Collection. The Institute benefits from the unprecedented support of CPI’s Founding Partner Scotiabank, the Archive of Modern Conflict - the Gallery’s partner, and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. For more information, visit: gallery.ca/cpi
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @NatGalleryCan, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit ngcfoundation.ca and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation
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