Ready to Install: VanMag Showcases the Vancouver Biennale

Wednesday June 24th, 2009

The July-August issue of Vancouver Magazine has done a cool little article on the Vancouver Biennale.  Written by Lia Grainger the article is an excellent overview of the upcoming major installations, the new media aspects and the controversy surrounding Dennis Oppenheim’s Device to Root out Evil from the inaugural Beinnale in 2005-2007.

The article begins by recounting a conversation between Biennale president Barrie Mowat and Chinese sculptor Ren Jun – Side Note: Ren Jun’s Shiny Water piece is going to be completely amazing and I’ll blog about that tomorrow! – that goes a little something like this…

“I‘ve based it all on a drop of water.”

Chinese sculptor Ren Jun is using his beverage to describe a monumental piece of public art. He’s trying to convince a dubious Barrie Mowatt, in the offices of the Vancouver Biennale near the Olympic Village, to approve his proposal for the international outdoor art festival that begins in September.

“Ren, if you want to install a 150-foot sculpture in the middle of the city, I need to see it,” says Mowatt.

Jun, a small man of boundless energy, looks playful. “It’s about water! Like this!'” Dipping his hand in the glass he’s been sipping from, Jun splashes water across the polished wooden surface of the conference table. It spills on some papers, but he doesn’t notice.

At first Mowatt seems confused, but then his eyes crinkle and he smiles. “I see the forms,” he says, as Jun drags his fingers through the pool of water that is slowly evaporating. “It could be a bird taking off, or waves,” he adds, and Jun nods. “It has that amorphous sense, but not so amorphous that you can’t identify with it. It will be fluid in seven tons of metal.”

Read the rest of the article here.  Thanks to Vancouver Magazine and Lia Grainger.

Like what you see?