I was walking around downtown with a friend who was passing through Vancouver from Australia on his way to study on the East Coast. We had an hour to kill, so we decided to head to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Unfortunately, entry was rather expensive at $19.50, so instead we decided to browse the gift shop, which is essentially a smaller-scale, more commercial version of the gallery. I found a beautiful native print which I sent home as a gift, but I also came across a book of 24 detachable postcards by an artist called Brian Jungen.
Jungen is an artist from Fort St. John, BC and specialises in found art. The work featured on the postcards is from his Prototype for New Understanding series; basing the forms of his creations on Pacific North-West aboriginal masks, Jungen has repurposed Nike Air Jordans into incredibly striking works which combine traditional artforms and commercial products to create a compelling dichotomy. The shapes and colours he uses are distinctly aboriginal, but the Nike swooshes and jumping Jordan silhouettes which intermittently dot the pieces are unmistakeable markers of the origins of the material.
Jungen has also used hanging black human hair in a number of these sculptures, which give them an eery life of their own. As soon as I picked up the book I knew I was going to be buying it; I’m not sure I’m going to send any of the postcards though, they’re too beautiful! I’ve featured a selection of his pieces below.
Does anyone know any other artists who meld the past and present in such a striking way? I’d love to hear about them!