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Celebrating diversity and time

Intersections: Contemporary Artist Films on until Feb. at the Audain Art Museum



The Audain Art Museum has made film the centerpiece of its latest exhibition.

Intersections: Contemporary Artist Films shows the work of eight videographers in seven contemporary videos that cover the personal and political.

An entire temporary gallery in the Audain was remodelled into seven small screening rooms to show the films.

Curator Darrin Martens says he decided to bring modern video art to the Audain because it was an opportunity to show how varied the museum's touring shows can be — remaining responsive to trends in the art world.

The exhibition follows more traditional shows, including the art collection of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

"I wanted to signal that we are interested in pursuing a contemporary art program. Bringing together the work by these artists is a great way to do that," Martens says.

All the artists taking part have international stature: Fiona Tan, Patrick Bernatchez, Matilda Aslizadeh, Lisa Jackson, Althea Thauberger, Pascal Grandmaison and Marie-Claire Blais, and Stan Douglas. All but Tan are Canadian.

"I've experienced video art in different museums... it has always been an area of practice that had interested me. It's a selection that speaks to some of the issues of today and will resonate with a larger audience," says Martens.

"Each of the artists deal with the mode of video art in different ways."

Subjects covered are diverse, including First Nations, China, Mexico, diaspora and life along the Pacific Rim. The theme that connects them all is how ideas intersect — where concepts like time, space, place and global social narratives relating to the movement of peoples or the state of the environment, meet.

Martens says there is no cookie-cutter style by the filmmakers. The films can run several minutes to hours-long. To fully explore all the films in the exhibition, he recommends taking several hours.

"I would like to see people invest a little more time into this to get the most out of the works," Martens says.

One film, Kaltsassin by Douglas, uses an algorhythm to mix up scenes so each screening differs from the previous one. In contrast, Bernatchez's Lost in Time is in 12 different chapters.

Thauberger's Northern Pieces shines a light on tree planters, the effects of clear-cutting and conservation; while Grandmaison has collaborated with Blais, a well-known Canadian poet and playwright.

Martens says short pieces can be as poignant as those that are longer.

"One of the things that draws all of these works together, for me, is how each artist uses time," he says.

"Some films are narrative and literal, but there is an undercurrent of the passage of time, how we use it and how it passes."

 Admission to the show is included with the general admission price to the Audain's permanent collection of British Columbian art.

Intersections: Contemporary Artist Films is on at the Audain Art Museum until Feb. 6.

Another temporary exhibition, From Geisha to Diva: The Kimono of Ichimaru, is also on display until Jan. 9.

For more information, visit www.audainartmuseum.com.