Following the Venice Biennale 2022 and a cross-Canada tour, Stan Douglas’ exhibition caps off successful year at the National Gallery of Canada
The exhibition Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848 opens at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) after a year of international and national acclaim. Thanks to a strategic partnership, the incredible journey, which began as the exhibition marking Stan Douglas’ representation for Canada at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022), has been followed by a cross-Canada tour with stops at Vancouver’s Polygon Gallery and Saskatoon’s Remai Modern. Presenting partner RBC supported both the presentation of Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848 at the Canada Pavilion and its Canadian tour. Over the next twelve months, until fall 2024, the public will be able to discover the powerful works by Stan Douglas at the Gallery.
“As a first for the Gallery since it resumed its role as commissioner of the Canada Pavilion in 2011, the exhibition representing Canada at the prestigious Venice Biennale has been brought home. Together with the Polygon Gallery and Remai Modern, we are proud to bring Stan Douglas’ explorations of culture, memory and history to Canadians living thousands of kilometres apart. This fruitful partnership is in line with our key focus to expand the Gallery’s reach beyond the National Capital Region. The tour will stand as an innovative model for the NGC in the future,” said NGC Director and CEO, Jean-François Bélisle.
Presented in Venice with the support of the NGC Foundation, Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848 attracted nearly 549,000 people or a stunning 70% of the Biennale’s 800,000 visitors, establishing itself as one of the highlights of this major international exhibition of contemporary art. The exhibition was curated by Reid Shier, Executive Director, The Polygon Gallery.
”Stan Douglas’ exhibition investigates and reimagines global events from 2011 and asks that these be considered within an historical lineage of fissures and tensions between democratic impulses and the will to power. At the Venice Biennale, 2011≠ 1848 also complicated the notion of what it meant to represent Canada by way of photographs and a video predominantly set outside of it. Douglas’ work was timely and resonant, and I am thrilled that thanks to the partnership between the NGC, Remai Modern and The Polygon this extraordinary exhibition has had the opportunity to connect with audiences across this country,” said Shier.
“RBC believes in the importance of supporting the arts as a way to foster vibrancy and prosperity in our communities,” said Shannon Cole, vice-president, brand marketing, RBC. “We are proud to partner with the National Gallery of Canada and support the tour of Stan Douglas’ incredible works, which raise meaningful opportunities for reflection and showcases the powerful connections between historical moments of tension and social movements.”
The title, Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848, weaves a link between the worldwide protests of 2011 to the widespread upheaval of the 1848 “Springtime of Nations,” a revolutionary movement of middle and working classes allied in a struggle for democracy across much of Europe.
The exhibition features four large-scale hybrid-documentary photographic works based on protests and upheavals that took place in 2011 in North Africa and the Middle East, in New York, in the United Kingdom and in the artist’s hometown of Vancouver. A large-scale two-channel video installation titled ISDN is also central to the exhibition. ISDN features an immersive soundtrack of rhythms and beats that change in tempo and energy from loop to loop. The video installation stages a fictionalized account of two musical collectives, one in London featuring Grime rappers Lady Sanity and TrueMendous, and another in Cairo featuring Mahraganat rappers Raptor and Joker. When considered alongside Douglas’ photographs, the work synthesizes what might be considered the soundtracks for revolts and protests then underway in England and Egypt.
ISDN, purchased in 2023, is jointly owned by the NGC and the Remai Modern. This co-acquisition was made possible through the National Gallery of Canada’s National Outreach program, which is generously supported by Michael Nesbitt. Stan Douglas’ four photographs also entered the collection in 2023.
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Ankosé: Everything is Connected / Tout est relié
The NGC is dedicated to amplifying voices through art and extending the reach and breadth of its collection, exhibitions program, and public activities to represent all Canadians, while centring Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Ankosé—an Anishinaabemowin word that means “everything is connected”—reflects the Gallery’s mission to create dynamic experiences that open hearts and minds, and allow for new ways of seeing ourselves, one another, and our diverse histories, through the visual arts. The NGC is home to a rich contemporary Indigenous international art collection, as well as important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian and European art from the 14th to the 21st century. Founded in 1880, the NGC has played a key role in Canadian culture for more than 140 years.
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