Chris­tos Dikeakos

26 March–25 April 2009

Christos Dikeakos

This exhi­bi­tion at Catri­ona Jef­fries fea­tured new work by Chris­tos Dikeakos. Grounded in the photo-conceptual tra­di­tions of Van­cou­ver, which began in the late 1960s, Dikeakos’ pho­tog­ra­phy prac­tice has con­sis­tently explored local his­to­ries, the con­di­tions of moder­nity and the socio-economic rela­tions of par­tic­u­lar sites.

For approx­i­mately forty years Dikeakos has focused his atten­tion on the chang­ing land­scape sur­round­ing the False Creek inlet which cuts into the east­side of Van­cou­ver. Tra­di­tion­ally used as hunt­ing and fish­ing grounds by First Nations peo­ples, the area bor­der­ing this water­way has under­gone trans­for­ma­tion from an indus­trial hub (filled in to accom­mo­date the CPR rail route and road­ways in the early 1900s), to an area marked by a fraught his­tory of urban renewal and inter­na­tional exhi­bi­tion, host­ing the world Expo in 1986 and now the upcom­ing 2010 win­ter Olympics. Dikeakos’ per­sis­tent pic­tur­ing of this zone, often as a de-featured and con­stantly shift­ing land­scape, with Vancouver’s iconic and touris­tic moun­tains and high-rises form­ing the back­drop, con­sid­ers the site in rela­tion to larger eco­nomic and ide­o­log­i­cal shifts occur­ring globally.

In this exhi­bi­tion, Dikeakos’ pho­tographs reveal a moment of rapid devel­op­ment in which Vancouver’s pres­ence on the world stage and the cre­ation of a new imag­ined neigh­bour­hood for a priv­i­leged class is caus­ing counter-movements in the nomadic urban under­class. Places of pro­duc­tion, such as the build­ing in which Dikeakos and other artists have stu­dios nearby, are now becom­ing tem­po­rary shel­ters for the home­less. In Win­dow View, Main Street, Dikeakos’ large-scale frame within a frame show­ing the Lego-like pro­gres­sion of tow­ers and cranes through the win­dow of an increas­ingly extinct work­ing envi­ron­ment crammed with tools and mate­ri­als, exposes the polemic between sites of pro­duc­tion and consumption/domestication. The rapidly chang­ing exte­rior land­scape is framed by a painterly stu­dio still-life arrested in time. As with past works in which Dikeakos has super­im­posed First Nations place names onto the urban land­scape, in this project he also marks a moment in his­tory which pre-supposes an era­sure of what came before.

In this exhi­bi­tion, Dikeakos’ pho­tographs reveal a moment of rapid devel­op­ment in which Vancouver’s pres­ence on the world stage and the cre­ation of a new imag­ined neigh­bour­hood for a priv­i­leged class is caus­ing counter-movements in the nomadic urban under­class. Places of pro­duc­tion, such as the build­ing in which Dikeakos and other artists have stu­dios nearby, are now becom­ing tem­po­rary shel­ters for the home­less. In Win­dow View, Main Street, Dikeakos’ large-scale frame within a frame show­ing the Lego-like pro­gres­sion of tow­ers and cranes through the win­dow of an increas­ingly extinct work­ing envi­ron­ment crammed with tools and mate­ri­als, exposes the polemic between sites of pro­duc­tion and consumption/domestication. The rapidly chang­ing exte­rior land­scape is framed by a painterly stu­dio still-life arrested in time. As with past works in which Dikeakos has super­im­posed First Nations place names onto the urban land­scape, in this project he also marks a moment in his­tory which pre-supposes an era­sure of what came before. These reflec­tions are sim­i­larly inter­wo­ven into Dikeakos’ most recent work The Room, 3 Vets which offers a rare close-up view of a local First Nations art gallery/curio store located at the back of an army sur­plus shop. Through his atten­tion to the his­tory of the pho­to­graphic medium and his care­ful map­ping of these sites, Dikeakos’ new body of work engages with the micro­cosm as a way of speak­ing to the close inter­stices between the local and global at a time when these issues are at the fore­front of main­stream consciousness.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion or press enquires please con­tact Catri­ona Jef­fries or Anne Low at +1 604 736 1554.