Pierre Coupey

Pierre Coupey (b1942) was raised and educated in Montreal. He graduated from Lower Canada College, received his BA from McGill University, and studied drawing at the Académie Julian and printmaking at the Atelier 17 in Paris. He received his MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and a Certificate in Printmaking from the Art Institute, Capilano University. 

He was a founding Co-editor of The Georgia Straight and the founding Editor of The Capilano Review. His work has received awards, grants and commissions, including grants from the Conseil des Arts du Québec, the Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the Audain Foundation for the Arts. In 2013 he received the Distinguished Artist Award from FANS. He was inducted into the  Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2018. In 2019 he received the designation Faculty Emeritus for his service to Capilano University and his ongoing contributions to Canada’s literary and artistic communities. His archives (Pierre Coupey Fonds) are held in the Contemporary Literature Collection at Simon Fraser University Library in Vancouver.

He has published several books of poetry, chapbooks and catalogues, and exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally. His work is represented in numerous private collections in Canada, the United States, Japan and Europe, and in numerous corporate, university and public collections across Canada. He has received private and corporate painting commissions, notably for 745 Thurlow in Vancouver and Fifteen 15 in Calgary. Major public collections include the Belkin Art Gallery, Burnaby Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, Kelowna Art Gallery, Simon Fraser University Art Gallery, University of Guelph Collection, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery and West Vancouver Art Museum.

Pierre Coupey + Dion Kliner 2021 exhibition in Canton-sardine.

Black Lake I | Oil on canvas | 30″x30″ / 2020-2021

Black Lake II | Oil on canvas | 36″x36″ / 2020-2021

White Poem I (Catullus) | Oil on canvas | 36″x36″ / 2020-2021

White Poem II (Cabral) | Oil on canvas | 36″x36″ / 2020-2021

White Poem III (Carson) | Oil on canvas | 40″x40″ / 2020-2021

Study (Graphite) | Oil on canvas | 16″x16″ / 2012

Imaginary Portrait | Oil sticker on paper | 14″x11″x22ps | 1996

All works’ price upon request by email: stdragonn@canton-sardine.com


Pierre Coupey

Solo Exhibitions

2022   New Work, Gallery Jones, Vancouver [Catalogue] *

2021   New Work, Odon Wagner Gallery, Toronto [Catalogue] *

2020   Walking the Cat Back, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2019   Manifest/Trace curator Vanessa Black, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver [Video]

2018   Rock Pool, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2017   Across / Between / Within, Odon Wagner Contemporary, Toronto [Catalogue]  

2016   RaptureRupture, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2016   Requiem Notations I-IX, curator Darrin Morrison, West Vancouver Art Museum at West Vancouver Library  

2014   Measures, Odon Wagner Contemporary, Toronto [Catalogue]

2013   Cutting Out the Tongue: Selected Work 1976-2012, curators Astrid Heyerdahl / Darrin Morrison,

           Art Gallery at Evergreen / West Vancouver Art Museum [Catalogue]

2013   Field Work, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2011   Featured Artist, Gallery Jones, West Vancouver

2010   Between Memory and Perception, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2010   Projects, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver

2008   Counterpoint, Gallery Jones, Vancouver [Catalogue]

2006   Tangle, curator Darrin Martens, Burnaby Art Gallery [Catalogue]

2006   Requiem Notations I-IX, curator Cecilia Denegri Jette, Richmond Art Gallery (Gateway Theatre)

2004   Paintings / Prints, curator Ingun Kemble, West Vancouver City Hall

2004   BlackWhiteGrey, curator Marcus Bowcott, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver

2004   Artist in Residence, The Urban Garage, West Vancouver

2002   Notations: Recent Work, Ballard Lederer Gallery, Vancouver

1999   Requiem Notations I-IX, curator Patrick Montgomery, Art Gallery at Evergreen, Coquitlam [Catalogue]

1998   Notations 1994-1998, curator Paula Gustafson, Canadian Embassy Gallery, Tokyo [Catalogue]

1998   Work from the Notations Series, Montgomery Fine Art, Vancouver 

1997   Work in Process: Drawings, Proofs, Prints, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver         

1995   Notations 12-15 (For Eva), curator Carole Badgley, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver

1995   From the 80’s: Trellis, Wedge, Montgomery Fine Art, Vancouver

1995   From the 70’s: Selected Journal Drawings / New Work on Paper, Atelier Gallery, Vancouver

1994   Notations: Painting the Lion from a Claw, Atelier Gallery, Vancouver

1992   Recent Work: Prints, Atelier Gallery, Vancouver

1991   Paintings 1970-1990, curator Barry Cogswell, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver

1990   Variations done for bpNichol, Atelier Gallery, Vancouver

1988   Pierre Coupey: Recent Works, curator Ann Rosenberg, Surrey Art Gallery

1987   A Book of Days I-XII, Crown Gallery, Vancouver

1982   Recent Paintings, Studio Nine Gallery, Toronto

1982   Journal Drawing Series, curator bpNichol, The Gallery, Scarborough College, University of Toronto

1981   Seven Paintings, curator Barry Cogswell, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver

1981   New Work 1980-1981, curator Claire Knight, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver [Catalogue]



Selected Group Exhibitions

2022   Léon Coupey Project, curator Hilary Letwin, West Vancouver Art Museum *

2021   Cave Light Flickers, curator David Chaperon, Gallery Jones Offsite, Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver

2021   Pierre Coupey | Dion Kliner, curator Lam Wong, Canton-Sardine, Vancouver

2021   Small Scale Right Hemisphere: Part Two, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2020   Written on Water: Pierre Coupey, Kristin Man, Ben Lumb, BLAH, Grosvenor Ambleside, West Vancouver

2019   The Raiders: Ceramics, curator Kate Bellringer, Terminal Creek Contemporary, Bowen Island

2019   Celebrating 30 years at the FBG, curator Natalie Roizman, Ferry Building Gallery, West Vancouver

2019   the poets have always preceded: art & poetry from Vancouver, 1960 – present, curator Lee Plested, Griffin

           Art Projects, North Vancouver [Catalogue *]

2018   Transformations: Selected Work from the AFK Collection, curator Daylen Luschinger, Gordon Smith

           Gallery of Canadian Art, North Vancouver (to April 2019)

2018   Through the Memory Atlas: 40 Years of Collecting, curators Charo Neville et al, Kamloops Art Gallery

2018   A Generous Spirit: Work from the Permanent Collection, curators Darrin Morrison & Jackie Wong, West      

           Vancouver Art Museum [Catalogue]

2017   Vivid Dimensions, Odon Wagner Contemporary, Toronto

2017   Canada 150: Celebrating Our Artists, Odon Wagner Contemporary, Toronto

2017   The Big Picture, curator Liz Wylie, Kelowna Art Gallery [Catalogue]

2016   Summer Show: Gallery Artists, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2015   30 Years, curator Sarah Cavanaugh, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver

2015   Winter Show: Gallery Artists, Odon Wagner Contemporary, Toronto

2015   Small Works: Gallery Artists, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2014   Gallery Jones: Celebrating 10 Years, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2014   West Coast Innovators, curator Darrin Morrison, West Vancouver Art Museum at West Vancouver Library

2014   The And of the Land, curator Francesca Szuszkiewicz, West Vancouver Art Museum

2014   The Material Form: Contemporary Abstract Painting, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2011   The Point Is, curator Liz Wylie, Kelowna Art Gallery [Catalogue]

2011   The Artist’s Circle, curator Darrin Morrison, West Vancouver Art Museum / Harmony Arts Festival

2011   Manifestos Now! curator Brian Ganter, Teck Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

2010   Gallery Artists, Gallery Jones, West Vancouver

2009   Gallery Artists, Gallery Jones, Vancouver

2009   Coast Art Trust: Works, curator Ellen van Eijnsbergen, Art Gallery at Evergreen, Coquitlam

2008   Harmony Arts Festival Showcase, curator Ruth Payne, Ferry Building Gallery, West Vancouver

2007   Coast Art Trust: Early Works, curator James Felter, North Vancouver Museum

2006   New Acquisitions: City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection, curator Darrin Martens, Burnaby Art Gallery

2004   Totally Manipulated: Digital Art, curator Linda Feil, Cityscape Gallery, North Vancouver

2004   Celebrating 20 Years of Printmaking, curator Wayne Eastcott, Grand Forks Art Gallery

2003   Celebrating 20 Years of Printmaking, curator Brenda Fredrick, Burnaby Art Gallery [Catalogue]

2002   Art Institute Prints, curator Wayne Eastcott, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland

2001   Prints from Canada’s Pacific Province, curator Doug Biden, Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin

2001   Youthful Visions, curator Bill MacDonald, Artists for Kids Trust Gallery, North Vancouver [Catalogue]

2001   Printmaking Possibilities: Photo/Digital, curator Wayne Eastcott, Capilano University Art Gallery

2001   Common Ground, curator Linda Feil, Cityscape Gallery, North Vancouver

2000   From the Collection: Dispatches & Inscriptions, curator Grant Arnold, Vancouver Art Gallery

2000   Impressions and Expressions, curator Carole Badgley, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver

2000   Reflections of Place, curator Deborah Tuyttens, West Vancouver Art Museum [Catalogue]

2000   First Folio, curators Steven Dixon & Wayne Eastcott, Sunshine Coast Art Center, Sechelt

2000   First Folio, curators Steven Dixon & Wayne Eastcott, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver

1996   Print Works, curator Wayne Eastcott, Capilano University Art Gallery, North Vancouver

1996   The Chair, curators Carole Badgley & Trudy Van Dop, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver

1995   Works on Paper: Canadian, American & European Artists, Atelier Gallery, Vancouver

1993   Abstraction: Which Way from Here? curator Jeffrey Spalding, Canada Trust Tower, Calgary

1993   Prints from the Art Institute, curator Wayne Eastcott, Canadian Consulate, Nagoya

1980   Salon des Refusés 1980, curator Matthew Kangas, Soames-Dunn Building, Seattle

1979   Affinities: Ten Painters of this Region, curator Ted Lindberg, Vancouver Art Gallery [Catalogue]

1978   Three Person Show, curator Barry Cogswell, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver

1972   The Private Patron: BC Art, curator James Felter, Simon Fraser University Art Gallery, Burnaby

1972   Microprosophus: International Concrete Poetry, curators David UU & Pierre Coupey, Evergreen State     

            College, Evergreen, WA

1969   Three Person Show, Bau Xi Gallery, Vancouver

1969   Group Show, Bau Xi Gallery, Vancouver

1968   Two Person Show, Graduate Student Center, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

1968   Festival of Technology & Art, Ryerson Institute of Technology, Toronto

1968   Four Person Show, Mandan Ghetto Gallery, Vancouver

1964   J.A.M.M. Collects, Stable Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

1964   Quebec Painters under Thirty, Stable Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts



Commissions

2021   Print commission, West Vancouver Art Museum *

2019   Private commission, West Vancouver

2018   Private commission, Toronto

2016   Corporate commission, Fifteen 15, Calgary

2016   Private commission, Port Moody

2015   Corporate commission, 745 Thurlow, Vancouver

2000   Centennial Print Project, North Vancouver Arts Commission

1986   Corporate commission, Prow Restaurant, Canada Place, Vancouver



Public Collections

Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam

Artists for Kids Permanent Collection, North Vancouver

Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia

Burnaby Art Gallery

Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa

Capilano University, North Vancouver

Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa

City of North Vancouver

Contemporary Art Gallery (City of Vancouver)

District of North Vancouver

District of West Vancouver

Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, North Vancouver

Kamloops Art Gallery

Kelowna Art Gallery

Lions Gate Hospital Art Collection

Maltwood Gallery (Coast Art Trust), Victoria

Nanaimo Art Gallery

North Vancouver Arts Council

North Vancouver Museum

North Vancouver School District

Province of British Columbia, Canada

Simon Fraser University Art Gallery, Burnaby

St Paul’s Hospital Foundation, Vancouver

Two Rivers Art Gallery, Prince George

University of Alberta Art Collection, Edmonton

University of Guelph Collection / Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

University of Lethbridge Art Gallery

University of Victoria Art Collections

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver General Hospital Foundation

West Vancouver Art Museum

West Vancouver School District



Corporate Collections

Aldo Group, Montreal

Barometer Capital, Toronto

bcIMC, Calgary

bcIMC, Vancouver

Christopher Investments, Vancouver

Citibank Canada, Toronto

College & Institute Educators Association, Vancouver

Denbigh Fine Art Services, Vancouver

Hyatt Regency, New Orleans

Image This Photo, Vancouver

Kernaghan Adjusters, Vancouver

Koerner Graduate Student Center, UBC, Vancouver 

Lower Canada College, Montreal

McCullough O’Connor Irwin, Vancouver

McGill Student Society, McGill University, Montreal

North Shore News, North Vancouver

Protechnical Insurance, Vancouver

RSVP Reservations, Vancouver

Securiguard Services, Vancouver

Segal Group, Toronto

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto

Larry Young & Associates, Vancouver



Private Collections

Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver; Burnaby, Courtney, Delta, Kelowna, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Prince George, Sechelt, Tofino, Tsawwassen, Victoria, Whistler; Calgary, Magog QC, Montréal, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Saskatoon, Toronto; Dallas, Houston, New York, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Point Roberts WA, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Snowmass CO, Vero Beach FL; Grand Cayman Island; Berlin, Geneva, Paris, Toulouse; Beirut, Okazaki, Tokyo

Awards | Grants | Distinctions

2019           Faculty Emeritus, Capilano University, North Vancouver

2018           RCA, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts        

2013      Distinguished Artist Award (Visual & Literary Arts), FANS, North Vancouver

2013      Exhibitions Grant, Audain Foundation for the Arts, Vancouver

2003      Aichi Gakusen Faculty Exchange, Okazaki, Japan

2000      Millennium Print Project, North Vancouver Arts Council

1998      Exhibitions Grant, Canadian Embassy, Tokyo, Japan

1998      Special Projects Grant, Capilano College Foundation

1998      Faculty Development Grant, Capilano College Faculty Association

1996-1997  Visual Arts Grant, British Columbia Arts Council

1996-1997  Paid Educational Leave for Poetry / Printmaking, Capilano College

1981      Broadside Award for Poetry, The Malahat Review

1980-1981  Visual Arts Grant, Canada Council 

1980      Paid Educational Leave for Poetry / Painting, Capilano College

1976      Short Term Grant for Poetry, Canada Council

1974      LIP Grant for Painting, City of Vancouver

1973      Short Term Grant for Poetry, Canada Council

1970      Short Term Visual Arts Grant, Canada Council

1970      Graduate Bursary for Poetry, University of British Columbia

1968-1969  Arts Grant for Poetry, Canada Council

1966      H.R. MacMillan Award for Poetry, University of British Columbia

  1. Arts Grant for Poetry, Le Conseil des Arts du Québec

1964      Chester MacNaughten Award for Poetry, McGill University 

1964      Louis B. Shapiro Award for Poetry, McGill University


Related Experience

Ambleside Arts Advisory Council, West Vancouver, 2011-2012

Artist in Residence / Artists for Kids Trust, West Bay School, West Vancouver, 2001

Arts Awards Juries, Canada Council Explorations Program, Vancouver, 1995

Arts Awards Jury, North Shore Arts Commission, North Vancouver, 1994

Arts Awards Jury, FANS (Fund for the Arts on the North Shore), North Vancouver, 2015

Art Jury, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, 2018

Capilano Review Contemporary Arts Society, Board of Directors, Vancouver, 2015-

Coast Art Trust, Board of Directors, North Vancouver, 2005-2007

Harmony Arts Festival Jury, West Vancouver, 2012, 2014, 2017

Presentation House Gallery, Board of Directors, 2001-2007

Retired Faculty Group, Capilano University, Steering Committee, 2013-2018

West Vancouver Art Museum, Museum Advisory Committee, 2014-2016


Capilano College | Capilano University

Aichi Gakusen Faculty Exchange Committee

Art Advisory Committee

Capilano Foundation Capital Planning Committee

Capilano Foundation Special Projects Committee

Capilano Review Press Society, President, Board of Directors

Capilano Review Writing Institute Advisory Committee

Chief Steward, Capilano College Faculty Association

Creative Writing Articulation Committees

Dean of Arts Search Committee

Food Services Committee

Founding Editor, The Capilano Review

Humanities Division Faculty Evaluation Committee

Humanities Division Koerner Lecture Series Committee

Humanities Division Reading Series Committee

Province of British Columbia Creative Writing Articulation Committees

Studio Art Department Art Advisory Committee


Academic Positions

Instructor, English Department, Capilano College/University, 1970-2003 (RFT), 2003-2011 (NREG)   

Coordinator, English Literature, English Department, Capilano College, 1978-1979

Summer Coordinator, Humanities Division, Capilano College, 1981-1984, 1986, 1996, 1999

Teaching Assistant, English Department, University of British Columbia, 1965-1966, 1969-1971


Education

Certificate (Printmaking), Art Institute, Capilano College, North Vancouver, 1992

Master of Arts (English / Creative Writing), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 1971

Académie Julian (Drawing) / Atelier 17 (Printmaking), Paris, 1964-1965

Bachelor of Arts (English / Creative Writing), McGill University, Montreal, 1964

Senior Matriculation, Lower Canada College, Montreal, 1960

Junior Matriculation, Lower Canada College, Montreal, 1959


Websites

coupey.ca

pierrecoupey.ca

coupey.com

pierrecoupey.com

Dion Kliner

Recognized primarily as a sculptor and a writer, Dion Kliner also creates intimately scaled works on paper. Texts for Nothing – One is one of a series of thirteen drawings inspired by Samuel Becket’s thirteen short prose pieces in his book Stories and Texts for Nothing, published in 1967. Kliner’s drawings were produced letter by letter in a laborious rewriting of each one of the texts in its entirety. The original content remains, but has been pulverized through a random distribution of its letters over the paper. Far from being permanent formations, Kliner sees the drawings as short term agglomerations of possibility, which at any moment could crumble back to their original state or reconfigure into something entirely new.

Kliner was born in Los Angeles, California. After attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and East Texas State University he moved to New York City where he worked as a sculptor and writer. In 2003 Kliner relocated with his family to Vancouver. Kliner’s sculptures and drawings have been shown throughout North America, including solo exhibitions at Saint Thomas University (Fredericton) and East Texas State University Gallery (Commerce, Texas). He has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including those at Burrard Arts Foundation (Vancouver), Gallery Jones (Vancouver) and Vancouver Art Gallery. Kliner was awarded the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant in 2014.

Pierre Coupey + Dion Kliner 2021 exhibition in Canton-sardine.

Agias the Arcadian+Proxenus the Boeotian | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Clearchus the Spartan | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Foot and Leg | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Four Legs | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Hear (Helmet 1) | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Head (Scagliola 1) | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Head With Wings | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Head (Imaginary Portrait) | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Head for Edwin Parker | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Menon the Thessalian | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

Socrates the Achaean | Paster & Mix Materials | 2020

All works’ price upon request by email: stdragonn@canton-sardine.com


Dion Kliner

Solo Exhibitions
2009
Sculpture, Yellow Box Gallery, Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, NB.
2004
Entropic State, Zack Gallery, Vancouver, BC.
1989
Meaningless Objects, Vancouver Community Arts Council, Vancouver, BC.                            
1988
Meaningless Objects, East Texas State University Gallery, Commerce, TX.                              
1987
All Roads Lead, East Texas State University Gallery, Commerce, TX.
1983
Dion Kliner: Paintings, Issac’s Gallery, Be’er Sheva, Israel. 

Group Exhibitions
2021
Imaginary Portraits, Canton-Sardine, Vancouver, BC.
2019
Go Figure, CityScape Gallery, North Vancouver, BC.
2018
Pierre Coupey Rock Pool Dion Kliner Selected Sculpture, Vancouver, BC.
2017
The Mislooked, Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver, BC.
2012
Enough Is As Good As A Feast, Gallery Jones, Vancouver, BC.
2011
Unreal, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC.
2006
SCOPE Alternative, Trans-ient Art Space, East Hampton, NY.
The Spaces In Between, Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY.
2004
Gallery Jones, Vancouver, BC.
2003
Tendencies of Self-Containment, Universal Concepts Unlimited, New York, NY.
2002
Universal Concepts Unlimited, New York, NY.
The Armory Show, New York, NY.
2001
The Pierogi Flatfiles, Block Artspace, Kansas City, Missouri.
The Time Machine: Sculpture in the 20th Century, The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge AB. 

2000The Pierogi Flatfiles, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.
Haulin’ Ass, Pierogi in LA, POST Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

1999
Pierogi 2000: The Flatfiles, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts Philadelphia, PA.                                                                                                                              
1998
Current Undercurrent: Working in Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Museum of Art New York, New York, NY. Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC.
Pierogi 2000, New York: The Flatfiles, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria.
The Flatfiles, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, NY.                                                                     Pierogi Goes to College, Bard College, Rheinbeck, New York, NY.

1997
Summer Invitational, Steffany Martz Gallery, New York, NY.
Dion Kliner and Darcy Mann, Synagogue for the Arts, New York, NY.
New York Drawers, The Pierogi 2000 Flatfiles, Gasworks, London, England.
New York Drawers, The Pierogi 2000 Flatfiles, Cornerhouse, Manchester, England.                       
1996
Sculpture and Painting, PS 122 Gallery, New York, NY.
Mysticism in Jewish Art, Klutznick National Jewish Museum, Washington, DC.

1994
Sculpture at 72 Berry, 72 Berry, Brooklyn, NY.
1993
Ward’s Island Outdoor Sculpture 1993, Manhattan Psychiatric Center, Ward’s Island, NY.
1990
Fourth International Shoe Box Sculpture Exhibition, University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Honolulu, HA.                                                                                                                                               
1989
S’no Show, Idee Gallery, Toronto, ON.
Drawing Conclusions, Southwest Texas University Gallery, San Marcos, TX.

1988
Third International Shoe Box Sculpture Exhibition, University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Honolulu, HA.                                                                                                                                               
1987
Texas Graduates, Sixth Texas Sculpture Symposium, blue collar gallery, San Antonio, TX.
Et Hominum Esse Memento, East Texas State University Gallery, Commerce, TX.
The Louisiana Festival of the Arts, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA.

1986
Ecphore, The Alternative Arts Society, Halifax, NS. 

Commissions
1986
Point Gray Secondary School, Vancouver, BC.
1985
City of Halifax, NS. 
Public Collections
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Canada Council Art Bank. 

Visiting Artist
2010
Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, NB. 

Residencies
1988
Artist-in-Residence, Israeli Center for the Creative Arts (HILAI), Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. 

Grants
2014
Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant 

Education
1989
MFA, East Texas State University, Commerce, TX.
1986
BFA, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, NS.

This World is a Heap of Wonders

On Narrative Logic of Wang Qingsong’s Images

Xiaoyan Yang

Wang Qingsong’s FOTOFEST, created in 2005, describes a typical scene of photographic art creation: a group of people holding cameras who, surrounding several nude models, are taking pictures.

This is an unforgettable and indescribable visual spectacle.

The public revealing of female nudity is an event that violates public morality and constitutes a certain taboo in any society and at any historical stage. But what if it is aesthetic in nature?

It is said that photography is art. Therefore, viewing through the lens has become a legitimate aesthetic. Peeping, in the name of photography, is no longer a problem, and also becomes an aesthetic legitimacy. Also, there s no knowing when this began—the emergence in Chinese society of this kind of pubic spectacle; a few young female models are teasing, surrounded by a group of photographers engaged in frenzied picture-taking. A little attention paid to that group of shooters reveals that, without exception, they are middle-aged people, everyone with telephoto and wide angle barrels–hurried, breathing rapidly.

Fotofest, 150x300cm, C-print, 2005, courtesy of artist

In the West, the historical significance of nude art images have, without exception, always been judged relative to conceptions of pornography. In this context, “pornography” is obviously not a derogatory term, it is simply a description of an objective state of affairs. Of course, throughout history most of the people watched are women; behind this fact the power of male chauvinism has played a role. In patriarchal traditional Chinese society, viewing the naked human form has always been a moral taboo; this is an obvious fact. Generally, because there is this powerful backdrop, when Western art entered China, its depiction of nudity, particularly the female body, despite its legitimate reasons, has for a long time, up to the present, constituted a serious issue. The female body is innocent, yet is ceaselessly incarnated as a body burdened with “reactionary thought,” causing women to feel endless shame. Therefore, once aesthetic appreciation is publicly supported, taking pictures of women’s bodies becomes an incredible public landscape. In the name of art, pornographic peeping rises to aesthetic gaze, and a kind of posturing style spreads freely within the world of images.

Wang Qingsong named this spectacle FOTOFEST. Within this seemingly objective description there is a harsh metaphor.

From this point of view, it is appropriate to define Wang Qingsong as an image artist. For him, photography itself is both medium and expression. What the medium means is that its acknowledged documentary function allows for an unassailable objectivity in photographing a scene. The public has long been accustomed to this age-old characteristic of photography. For them, isn’t photography just an undifferentiated trace of reality? The power of photography is also reflected in this point. But it also seems to prove that without objects there can be no photography, and photography exists because of objects. But imagine that, if there was no photography, the object could not be transformed into, and preserved as an image. If we cannot preserve, then there is no image, so in that case does the object have any meaning? Thus, always the object permits photography to become photography; yet photography changes the nature of the object, causing it to become an image; thus, in this way, is written a history, a history in visible images. Therefore, it is not so much that there is no photography without objects as that there is no object without photography. At this point, the object is equal to the image, or the object is the image. Image is a medium; photography is the inevitable means to make the media become a medium; it is a meaningful object/image, consequently, it is a more fundamental media.

But photography is also a kind of expression. For example, realism is a style of painting. The realistic effect obtained through painting cannot compete with the documentary function of photography. Therefore, in the face of photography, and in the face of realism, painting must emphasize its artistry, emphasize the role of the artist’s mind, as well as the manifestation brought about through skilled hands. In the era when people think that photography is the same as simply documenting facts, it has been impossible to establish the autonomy of photography because, in the face of the painting’s air of artistry, photographers are simply ashamed. This is the inherent problem of photography. The self-saving strategy of photography is to equate documenting events with the real, emphasizing that the authenticity of photography has always been missing from painting. Photography thinks that this can bypass the trap of aesthetics and fantasizes that it is equal to painting. Therefore, there is a strange debate in the field of photography about whether the so-called candid snapshot is real, or the posed photograph is real, and the extremists emphasize the substance of candid snapshots and deny any substance to the  posed photograph. Little do they realize that photography only lets the object be equal to the image but does not let photography be equal to the event. Once the events are reorganized, once the subject is transformed into a director, and the documentary nature of photography is understood as a bias and an expression, the subjectivity of photography can be proved.

Photography lets the object transform into an image. Photography originally has just this kind of medium-nature. At the same time, through arranging, through the reconstruction of the landscape, the image becomes an authentic visual expression, and the image also gains its own independence from so-called documenting, and confronts reality. There is a split here, which I might call the split between image and photography. Image is no longer a record of a man-made landscape; image has become a visual retrospective, seemingly objective, but in fact anti-objective. Similarly, photography is no longer photography. All the interpretation attached to the medium of photography has disintegrated in the face of fictional images, and photography has become a genuine expression.

The meaning of the image is reflected in this division. Wang Qingsong constantly replicates the former landscape, through large-scale, almost crazy posing, letting the image emerge to become a work. He is not replicating a former landscape; if we were to understand it in that way, we would have no way to understand Wang Qingsong’s unique boundless calm’s infinite anxiety. To him, the world is a heap of wonders. Not only is this world a heap of wonders, but history is also a heap of wonders. The combination of the world and history is a heap of wonders. The reason why Wang Qingsong continues to work, his goal, I think, is probably to establish an existence corresponding to this heap of wonders. He wants to create an indefinable existence, the form of which is image.

FOTOFEST how split? Every one of his works is wrapped in this split, by dismemberment. From the creation of Night Revels of Lao Li in 2000 to the new work On the Field of Hope in 2020, we can, from these works, understand the extraordinary satire of such astonishing spectacle.

Did Wang Qingsong achieve his goal? Another of his works, Iron Man, may be a self-assessment of this question, or even a prophecy. The answer lies in the mind of the viewer.

Blood stained shirt, 180x300cm, C-print, 2018, courtesy of artist
The Making of Blood Stained Shirt in Detroit
On the field of hope, 180x300cm, C-print, 2020, Courtesy of artist
Iron Man, 120x160cmx2, C-print, 2008, courtesy of artist
Iron Man, Video, 35mm film, 4 minutes, 2008, courtesy of artist

A poster from the Cultural Revolution entitled To Live Like Such A Person refers to the appreciation of being a brave, honest, and heroic person. In our childhood, we have been taught how to live and why to live in political classes. These heroes were taught to as great models to emulate and to live up to as we grew up. However, the real world is very tough, stifled with conflict, war, violence, strife, controversy, fight, combat… People have to face up to all these severe situations. To be a hero means a lot of suffering, bravery, insistence, all sorts of skills of stamina to combat against the unexpected disasters. In Iron Man (2009), Wang Qingsong created a hero in his own image affectionately referred to as Iron Man. This term Iron Man refers to an oil worker hero (Qingsong worked in the oil-fields for over eight years) who dedicated his life to developing Chinese oil industry in the early 1960s. In this video this strong-minded hero has been beaten up by a lot of fists but always straightens up his head facing sideways as if Taking Death As Merely Going Back Home. He avoids the fist by playing Chinese Tai Chi (a Chinese body-exercise system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation, balance and health). Finally, though losing hair and teeth in the course of the beating, he still smiles at his opponents. Is it a fact of life or an absurdist satire against all forms of violence? Or what is Iron Man?

Rapidly completed on the way from Wuhan to Changsha to Guangzhou, China

On March 30, 2021


Wang Qingsong: Fotofest

ARTIST
Wang Qingsong 王慶松

CURATORs
Xiaoyan Yang 楊小彥
Steven Dragonn 龍邃洋

EXHIBITION DATES
Apr 3 – MAy 30, 2021

GALLERY HOURS
TU–Sa: 12–6 PM; M, SU: CLOSED


This exhibition is selected in 2021 Capture Photography Festival, Vancouver. Wang Qingsong is Capture’s inaugural Printing Prize recipient. The Capture Printing Prize is generously supported by Wesgroup.

Seemingly a humanistic landscape, the photography festival has become an industry chain around photography in modern society. In China, this is referred to as “culture perform on the stage built by economy”, but the traditional social form becomes strange under the impact of the western modernization wave. Wang Qingsong‘s works are deeply inserted into the current situation in China with his unique acumen. He uses images as a weapon and photography as a medium, trying to flip out a kind of criticism of reality, in order to let people laugh when facing his works, so as to experience the absurd essence in the confrontation. Fotofest is just such a type of work. The exhibition Fotofest, taken from Wang’s work of the same title, is used as the title of participating in the Capture Photography Festival 2021, giving it another dimension of thinking.

Living and working in Beijing, Wang Qingsong graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts and began to engage in image creation in 1996. He has held more than 40 solo exhibitions in many art museums and galleries in domestic and abroad, as well as participated in many important international biennales such as the Venice Biennale. His works have been collected by more than 60 public art museums including the New York International Photography Center, MoMA, and the Getty Museum. As one of the most important artists in Asian photography, Wang Qingsong reshapes the rapidly changing of Chinese contemporary society through photography, with large scales, civilian perspectives and gaudy popular aesthetics, combined with painting, stage and among the other visual languages.

This exhibition is jointly curated by senior Chinese curator Yang Xiaoyan and independent curator Steven Dragonn. Picks from Wang Qingsong’s collection, eight large representative photography combine the context of art history, and two video works are selected to show as a tailor-made exhibition for participating in the Capture Photography Festival.

This exhibition contains work that may not be suitable for some viewers.

About the Artist

Wang Qingsong, graduated from Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, has lived and worked in Beijing since 1993, and started photography making in 1996. Wang has held 40 solo exhibitions in many art museums and galleries, and he also participated in many international biennales such as the Gwangju Biennale, Taipei Biennale, Sydney Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennale, Kiev Biennale. Wang achieved Outreach Award in Renocontres de la Photographie in Arles, France in 2006. He also participated in curatorial commission such as The Yangtze International Photography Biennale and Golden Panda Photography Award in Chengdu, China, as well as other exhibitions. He is currently the art director of Chengdu Contemporary Image Museum.

His works have been collected by over 60 public art museum around the world, including the New York International Photography Center, MoMA, Getty Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco MoMA, Queensland Art Museum in Australia, Mori Art Museum in Japan, Mito Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, National Art Museum of Brazil, European Center of Photography in Paris, France, MUMOK in Austria, National Art Gallery of Victoria in Australia, V&A Museum in UK, Daegu Art Museum of South Korea, Art Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts in China, Fine Art Museum of Guangdong, China, Fine Art Museum of Hubei, China, etc.

Related Article

  • This World is a Heap of Wonders, On Narrative Logic of Wang Qingsong’s Images | by Xiaoyan Yang | March, 2021
  • Wang Qingsong, MOMA Studio, 170x300cm,Inkjet print, 2005
    Wang Qingsong, Fotofest, 170x300cm, Inkjet print, 2005
    Wang Qingsong, Dormitory, 170x400cm, Inkjet print, 2005

    Pierre Coupey + Dion Kliner: Imaginary Portraits

    ARTISTs
    Pierre coupey, Dion Kliner

    CURATOR
    Lam Wong

    EXHIBITION DATES
    Feb 19 – MAR 27, 2021

    GALLERY HOURS
    TU–Sa: 12–6 PM; M, SU: CLOSED


    Please note that this exhibition is by appointment only.


    The Imaginary Portraits of Pierre Coupey & Dion Kliner

    The current humans on earth are common people. We would probably have Blue light. Our ancestors, the higher spiritual ones, are totally White. 
    – Nowaten, Native American medicine man.

    To employ the method of walking the cat back* suggested by writer/art critic Peter Schjeldahl, the paintings, drawings and sculptures in this exhibition are “answers.” What then were the questions? To investigate we must ask why imaginary portraits and sculptures of fragments of the human body? What are the artists’ intentions for these mysterious creations?

    Art and the creative process is entwined with unknown and mysterious forces. This allows self-discovery for artists while navigating their inner psyche, the human soul, mind and spirit. Art making is profoundly spiritual. What leads to the creation of Coupey’s Imaginary Portraits drawing series and Kliner’s figurative-pure-white-plaster sculptures is potentially a reflection of both artists’ deeper desire to bring the subconscious, unresolved memories and the negated, to the surface, from the far corners of their memory banks. Their intention could also point to the idea of freedom. A desire to transcend the constraints of intellect, of thinking solely of a particular person, by trying (or non-trying) to make the image or form look like anybody. In other words, the freedom of letting go of attachment. By letting go, the artists free themselves from temporality and enter the mind-space of something larger.

    This pure essence and idealism of beauty, the untainted human spirit is further exemplified by the colour tone of the exhibition – the almost monochromatic theme of white plaster, and white/grey/buff titanium oil stick, with certain shades of greys that support and illuminate the whiteness, a representation of angelic spirit. As LaoTzu, the godfather of all Taoist sages, wisely pointed out: we can not have the Ying without the Yang. Everything in the world exists only in relation.

    Inevitably the artists work from within their own cultural influences and conditions. Coupey’s oil stick drawings of heads and Kliner’s plaster sculptures of heads, and feet understandably evoke depictions of European white males. Are these paintings/drawings and sculptures in some measure self-portraits, or, more likely, an homage to the gods, philosopher kings, artists, writers and poets the artists admire but do not name?

    Whatever their intentions, I suspect they are largely about humanity and personal spiritual exploration. Artists are seekers of truth, or, as Kandinsky proposed in his seminal book Concerning The Spiritual In Art (1912): artists need to be the spiritual teachers of the world.

    Lam Wong, Curator

    Pierre Coupey: I have no idea why I did the Imaginary Portrait drawings, only that the oil sticks and the coil-bound pad of Strathmore drawing paper were there, during the time 1994 to 1996 I was trying to relearn how to paint with oil pigments, having become completely dissatisfied with acrylics. They must have emerged on their own when I was sitting down looking at the failures on the canvasses in front of me. A form of doodling perhaps, a drawing method much prized by Stanley William Hayter with whom I studied printmaking in the 60’s. An antidote, perhaps, to the forced classicism of “good” drawing I was drilled in at the Académie Julian when we had to render in charcoal the Greek and Roman plaster busts “perfectly.” There’s drawing and then there’s drawing.

    Dion Kliner: I believe that it may not be possible to ever truly see the art that is in front of us; that we only see it through the vast and ghostly parade of all we’ve seen and are reminded of. My overarching challenge is in finding a way of sculpting my subject so that I’m  surprised and confused by what I’ve made; so that it slips in between all the work I admire, I despise, and cannot get out of my mind. I think I’ve satisfactorily achieved this with my feet and legs. Heads had been another matter until I began asking the question, “What would the heads look like that go with my feet?” When I saw Coupey’s ‘Imaginary Portraits,’ they were an inspiration and I saw a direction I could follow. Drawn in black, white and buff oil stick on paper, they are the colors of plaster, bone, and ivory. Using direct, simple and necessary lines, the forms read easily as volumetric and sculptural. The characters are distinct, but not caricatures; and though imaginary, they’re reminiscent (for me, ’Imaginary Portrait #8’ is Jean Genet). ‘Head (Imaginary Portrait)’ and ‘Head With Wings’ are my first translations; not that close, but on the way.

    ——

    *Also the title of Coupey’s recent solo exhibition at Gallery Jones last November.


    About the Artists

    Pierre Coupey
    Founding co-editor of The Georgia Straight, founding editor of The Capilano Review, Pierre Coupey has received numerous awards, grants and commissions in Visual art, including grants from Conseil des Arts du Québec, Canada Council, BC Arts Council, and Audain Foundation for the Arts. Received Distinguished Artist Award from FANS (2013), elected to Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (2018), named Faculty Emeritus, Capilano University (2019). Represented in private, corporate, and public collections in Canada and abroad, including permanent collections of Belkin Art Gallery, Burnaby Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, Kelowna Art Gallery, Simon Fraser University Art Gallery, University of Guelph Collection, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery and West Vancouver Art Museum, among others.  Represented by Gallery Jones in Vancouver and by Odon Wagner Gallery in Toronto.

    Dion Kliner
    Recognized primarily as a sculptor and a writer, Dion Kliner also creates intimately scaled works on paper. Texts for Nothing – One is one of a series of thirteen drawings inspired by Samuel Becket’s thirteen short prose pieces in his book Stories and Texts for Nothing, published in 1967. Kliner’s drawings were produced letter by letter in a laborious rewriting of each one of the texts in its entirety. The original content remains, but has been pulverized through a random distribution of its letters over the paper. Far from being permanent formations, Kliner sees the drawings as short term agglomerations of possibility, which at any moment could crumble back to their original state or reconfigure into something entirely new.

    Kliner was born in Los Angeles, California. After attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and East Texas State University he moved to New York City where he worked as a sculptor and writer. In 2003 Kliner relocated with his family to Vancouver. Kliner’s sculptures and drawings have been shown throughout North America, including solo exhibitions at Saint Thomas University (Fredericton) and East Texas State University Gallery (Commerce, Texas). He has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including those at Burrard Arts Foundation (Vancouver), Gallery Jones (Vancouver) and Vancouver Art Gallery. Kliner was awarded the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant in 2014.