Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brian Jungen

Variant I, 2002. Nike Air Jordans. 52"x45"

Prototype for New Understanding #16, 2004. Nike Air Jordans and human hair. 22 1/2" x 12" x 18"

Prototype for New Understanding #23. 2005. Nike Air Jordans. 18 1/2" x 20 1/2: x 5 7/8"

Prototype for New Understanding #14. 2003. Nike Air Jordans and human hair. 25"x14"x12"

Brian Jungen is a Canadian born artist (Vancouver) and based out of Montreal, Canada. Born in 170, he graduated college in 1992 from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He is Swiss, Canadian, and Dunne-za First Nations (aboriginal Canadian). He draws much of his inspiration from his own cultural heritage. His work revolves around the ideas and concepts of "found art" and its manipulation into, but not complete transformations (i.e. not completely changing its meaning). He is most recognized for his work with Nike Air Jordan Shoes (Prototypes of New Understanding) and recreates the shoes into aboriginal masks that evoke certain cultural meanings and implying their corruptions as well. The color pallet that he chooses for these shoes in specific (Red and Black) are colors that are traditional colors of the First Nations people. While he creates these sculptures of capitalist artifacts, there's still a direct correlation with the ideals of the cultural artifact of his people. Jungen has been exhibited throughout Canada, has shown at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Tate Modern in London.

I have chosen to talk about Brian Jungen because of the influences of Heide in my studio practice. Although, I am uncertain about aspects of the work and the direction is could go in, I do feel she has a very valid point. She feels that my work throughout my graduate career has been good technically and visually, yet conceptually lacking and I've also been lacking on the vocal part of my presentation. She feels that it would be best to really figure out what it is that motivates me, and we found the top two, the first is Photography, I am wholeheartedly dedicated to this artistic medium and will continue to pursue it in all of my endeavors. And the second is sports. I have been a huge sports fan throughout my life and have extensive knowledge on many topics in the sports world both past and present. So I am experimenting with the ready made and ideas surrounding sports, the ready made, its idolization, and its cultural significance and repercussions in our society and its effects on people.


"Jungen's masks don't really have that much in common with the sacred objects that they're riffing on. It's hard to imagine a Haida dancer, circa 1800, recognizing them as anything he could ever use. Instead, they seem only to satisfy crude Western cliches of what native art looks like and means." - Blake Copnik (Washington Post)

"The Nike mask sculptures seemed to articulate a paradoxical relationship between a consumerist artefact and an 'authentic' native artifact." - Brian Jungen

Interview (audio)
Website (no official website)

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