Kevin Schmidt

17 September–23 Octo­ber 2010

Kevin Schmidt

Catri­ona Jef­fries is pleased to announce the forth­com­ing exhi­bi­tion of new work by Kevin Schmidt. In the gallery Schmidt presents an instal­la­tion of four dis­tinct bod­ies of work that con­tinue his explo­ration into the pro­duc­tion and cri­tique of spec­ta­cle. The works seek to sub­jec­tively dis­as­sem­ble and com­pli­cate the author­ity and seam­less­ness of the spec­ta­cle of images, both still and mov­ing, of enter­tain­ment dis­play and the con­ven­tions of exhi­bi­tion mak­ing. Trav­el­ing into the Arc­tic and along the local Fraser River, Schmidt’s epic expe­di­tions inves­ti­gate sub­jects whose cri­tique lies within the con­structed seduc­tion of their delivery.

In the instal­la­tion Angel of Light, Schmidt has altered a set of night­club or con­cert effects lights by replac­ing the gobos; these lights, which pre­vi­ously directed abstract shapes and light, now sequen­tially project the lyrics of a song by Petra. One of the first and most suc­cess­ful Chris­t­ian rock groups to emerge in the 1970s, their music emu­lates other sta­dium rock bands of the era. How­ever, their mes­sage was res­olutely a reli­gious one, whereby their songs use the lan­guage, genre and style ascribed to the rebel­lious and reck­less lifestyle that their songs con­demn and warn against.

Tak­ing on a sim­i­lar tim­bre of warn­ing, in the spring of this year Schmidt began pro­duc­tion on a large sculp­ture – A Sign in the North­west Pas­sage – in the form of a cedar sign hand-routered with text from the Book of Rev­e­la­tions, the final and most explic­itly apoc­a­lyp­tic doc­u­ment in the New Tes­ta­ment. The text describes the destruc­tion of both the nat­ural world and human life: seas turn into blood, humans are plagued with ugly and painful sores, ‘birds eat the flesh of all’. The sign was installed into the sea­sonal ice that forms and melts each year in the North­west Pas­sage beyond Tuk­toy­ak­tuk, a place com­plex both as site (a sig­nif­i­cant oil resource lies below) and land­scape (a bar­ren expanse of pure arc­tic panorama). Dri­ving north from Van­cou­ver, Schmidt met a small team of local guides to install the unan­chored sign, which was designed and counter-balanced in such a way so as to float when the ice melted. The sign was left on site, to sur­vive the spring melt, and then to drift with the wind and cur­rents, qui­etly pros­e­ly­tiz­ing the end of the world.

A large scale pho­to­graph of the sign in situ is accom­pa­nied by a photo book, which func­tions in a sim­i­lar man­ner to the jour­nals kept by sailors chron­i­cling the first explo­rations into the North­west Pas­sage and later pub­lished for noto­ri­ety. These, in addi­tion to a small series of water­colours painted by Schmidt as gifts to a num­ber of peo­ple whose labor were essen­tial to the mak­ing of project, func­tion to rep­re­sent the per­sonal and social inter­ac­tions that lead to the instal­la­tion of the sign.

Akin to Schmidt’s voy­age into the north, Epic Jour­ney takes on the marathon Lord of the Rings tril­ogy via a series of noc­tur­nal screen­ings down the Fraser River, in an attempt to record the entire screen­ing over the period of one night. Set­ting out with two boats, one out­fit­ted with a small screen and pro­jec­tor play­ing the tril­ogy, the sec­ond with a small cam­era crew, Schmidt filmed the boat ahead, the drama of the movie unfold­ing as the boats slowly drifted down the river. Track­ing the pro­jected image as it punc­tu­ated the pass­ing land­scape, the seam­less nar­ra­tive of Lord of the Rings and the demand­ing pro­duc­tion of the video itself are all framed within the same shot, cre­at­ing a mes­meric jour­ney of its own construction.

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