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Adad Hannah: Visitors
22 June – 19 August 2012
Opening Reception: 21 June 2012
In his photography and video works, Vancouver and Montreal-based Adad Hannah has long been interested in the dichotomy between people and sculptures. Visitors presents two works which explore this idea through video.
In Les Bourgeois de Calais: Crated and Displaced (2010), shot in Calais, France with the first cast of Rodin’s seminal sculpture, the artist uses a handheld camera. Whereas in most of Hannah’s works the movement comes from the models' inability to remain motionless, in this project the movement originates from the artist’s body. In Les Bourgeois the artist captures the faces of the Burghers, mirroring human instinct to seek the gaze of the people we encounter. The shaky footage deliberately activates the bronze figures. Twisting, bending, gesturing, and ultimately moving, it pays homage to Rodin’s intention to animate the castaways. Each monitor captures their spirit and individuality. The assembled crates serve as extensions of the filmed installation while exaggerating the crudeness of the sculpture and assigning it portability through video. The installation offers a glimpse of the historical event encouraging the viewer to circle the piece in order to intimately examine each public face.
Dad and David Visiting (2010) was produced while the artist’s father and his boyfriend were visiting from San Francisco. The video is the result of Hannah’s encounter with the beauty of this intimate morning scene. In contrast to Les Bourgeois de Calais: Crated and Displaced, it is the camera’s immobility that captures Dad and David Visiting in a single shot. At first glance, the work appears to be a photograph intruding on the privacy of the two men resting. The stillness and quietness of the scene enhance the vulnerability of the stone-like sitters. The work’s true medium is revealed each time the artist’s father blinks as he lies by his sleeping lover.
Visitors demonstrates Hannah’s interest in activating a historical work, as well as depicting subjects and situations encountered by chance. Whether we are being transported to Calais in the installation, or stumble upon the couple’s sweet embrace, the viewer becomes a visitor to both sites. Each work, like a memento mori, is a reminder of our imminent death, whether physical, induced by sleep or controlled by the camera’s lens.
Ola Wlusek, Curator