The National Gallery of Canada (NGC), commissioner of Canada’s participation in the 59th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia is pleased to announce details of Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848. The exhibition unfolds across two venues in Venice, a first for Canada’s presentation at the Biennale Arte. Four large-scale photographs will be shown in the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini, and a major new two-channel video installation will be presented in the Magazzini del Sale No. 5, a sixteenth-century salt warehouse on Dorsoduro.
Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848 is inspired by the tenth anniversary of 2011, a year that saw significant social and political unrest around the globe including the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, the Occupy protests that began in New York, the widespread unrest in the UK in response to austerity measures, as well as a riot in the artist’s hometown of Vancouver following a hockey final.
Douglas’ exhibition draws a comparison between the events of 2011 and those of 1848, a year in which continent-wide upheaval found European middle and working classes allied in a fight against a lack of democratic freedoms, restrictions on the press, and the continued dominance of an aristocratic elite. Revolt in 1848 was continental, as news spread by print media, but revolt in 2011 was global, with news spread virally by way of electronic media. Across Europe and North America the events of 2011 were simply policed and ignored. In North Africa and the Middle East they were suppressed or subverted, with a few notable exceptions. The works explore the events of 2011 as unconscious reactions to the economic and political status quo which followed the recession of 2008, and examine the ways in which social media fuelled movements for change.
Based between Vancouver and Los Angeles, Douglas is recognized as one of Canada’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. His multidisciplinary practice includes films, photographs and— more recently—theatre productions, and he has continually reimagined the mediums of photography and multi-channel film and video installations. His practice is characterized by critical imagination, formal ingenuity and deep commitment to social enquiry. His work often reflects on the dynamic potential embedded in pivotal historical moments, investigating the relationship between local histories and generational social forces, both global and local.
Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848 is curated by Reid Shier and accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with texts by Erika Balsom, Ma’an Abu Taleb, George E. Lewis and Samir Gandesha.
Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848 was commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada, and presented in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. The Gallery acknowledges the collaboration and support of David Zwirner and Victoria Miro.
The Canadian representation at the Biennale Arte 2022 is made possible through the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment at the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and with the generous financial support of Presenting Sponsor Royal Bank of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada, and numerous private contributions. Special recognition is extended to Jackie Flanagan, the Michael & Sonja Koerner Family, the Donald R. Sobey Family and the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation for their exceptional contributions to the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment.
Visiting the exhibition
Canada Pavilion, Giardini della Biennale, Sestiere Castello, 30122 Venezia [Vaporetto: Giardini]
Magazzini del Sale No. 5, Dorsoduro 262, 30123 Venezia [Vaporetto: Zattere]
Opening hours: 23 Apr—25 Sep 2022: Tue—Sun, 11 a.m.-7p.m./27 Sep—27 Nov 2022: Tue—Sun, 10 a.m.-6p.m.
Image: Stan Douglas on set in Cairo, 2021. Photo ©️ Seham. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner