1 November 2013 - 11 January 2014
Opening Reception 1 November 2013 7pm
In her 1977 book On Photography Susan Sontag pronounced “to collect photographs is to collect the world.” This statement resonates with the work of Geoffrey Farmer who excavates multifarious cultural histories, from the life of Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention, photographs in Life magazine between 1935 and 1985, Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Nabokov’s 1962 novel Pale Fire, to the figure of Aloysius Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street. Rather than existing in isolation these stories, or histories, are intertwined with social and political events, music, visual art, film and happenstance through atmospheric and multifaceted installations combining video, film, sculptural elements, found objects, and sound. The exhibitionary moment becomes a magical space to tackle larger themes of the dialectical relationship between reality and artifice, how we understand our existence, knowledge and power.
A Light In The Moon refers to Gertrude Stein’s 1914 poem which breaks from a possible ‘sensible decision’ to a litany of options, possibilities, excitements and creations. Often playful, Farmer’s work leads us to renegotiate how we look at objects, and the meanings they elicit. In gathering histories, stories, objects, sounds, and images through poetic and theatrical installations, Farmer prompts wonder and undermines and disrupts the very concept of categorization or an encyclopedia of the world in which we live. Underlining such ideas is the capacity for anything, an object or an artwork, to alter its role and significance alluding to continual transformation and the potential for change.
A Light In The Moon represents a milestone for Mercer Union’s ongoing commissioning series. We would like to acknowledge the relentless and generous support of our patrons in this endeavour.
Image: Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard (detail), 2013. Cariatide Martyr, Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, 1100, Milano.
Geoffrey Farmer was born in Vancouver in 1967. He studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the San Francisco Institute of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include Let’s Make the Water Turn Black, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, and Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, The Surgeon and the Photographer, The Curve, Barbican Centre, London (all 2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2011); Walter Philips Gallery, Banff (2010); Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City (2010); Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, (2010). Recent group exhibitions include the Triennale der Kleinplastik, Stadt Fellbach (2013); Puppet Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2013); dOCUMENTA (13) (2012); Stage Presence, SFMOMA, San Francisco (2012); Tools for Conviviality, Power Plant, Toronto; The Garden of Forking Paths, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2011); Istanbul Biennial (2011). Farmer recently realized a project entitled The Intellection of Lady Spider House at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. He is the recipient of this year’s Gershon Iskowitz Prize and will have a retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2015.