Ron Ter­ada

23 May–28 June 2008

Ron Terada

Catri­ona Jef­fries is pleased to announce the forth­com­ing exhi­bi­tion of new work by Ron Ter­ada. Based in Van­cou­ver, Ter­ada has often simul­ta­ne­ously drawn from and sub­verted his native city as a means for exam­in­ing con­structs of regional and cul­tural iden­tity in the urban con­text. Ter­ada per­sis­tently exposes the lan­guage of signs that per­vade our mod­ern con­di­tion, claim­ing the city and sites of com­mu­ni­ca­tion as his ready-made. In this exhi­bi­tion Ter­ada inte­grates a vari­ety of media to fur­ther com­pli­cate and obstruct our read­ing of these signs.

In his new work Ter­ada main­tains a con­nec­tion to his 2005 sign work cur­rently installed on the exte­rior of the gallery that warns us to Stay Away from Lonely Places. With allu­sions to the 1982 film Bladerun­ner in which the city is the main char­ac­ter, Ter­ada con­tin­ues to inves­ti­gate the anx­i­ety of place, site and non-site. In an ambi­tious video instal­la­tion he con­flates the urban envi­ron­ment and the space of the gallery, play­ing with the ver­nac­u­lar of the con­tem­po­rary art object and the large-scale adver­tis­ing billboard.

In the video, three young Cau­casian girls dressed as maikos (appren­tice geishas) per­form excess through the con­sump­tion (or near con­sump­tion) of alco­hol, cig­a­rettes and pills. Mix­ing the aes­thetic of slick com­mer­cial adver­tis­ing and 1980s kitsch, in a con­stant play between past and present, Terada’s instal­la­tion and new large for­mat pho­to­graphic works which depict each girl posed, speak to the excesses of con­sumer cul­ture and the excess of accel­er­ated devel­op­ment in the city. Within this new body of work Ter­ada in turn probes ques­tions of “look­ing” and embeds ref­er­ences to the his­tory of exoti­cism and ori­en­tal­ism within the his­tory of West­ern art.

Ter­ada has also cre­ated a new neon work that ref­er­ences Cana­dian hockey player Todd Bertuzzi’s infa­mous and sin­is­ter com­ment “It is what it is,” which he made in response to his exces­sive vio­lence dur­ing a game. In Terada’s inver­sion, “It was what it was,” he marks a con­tra­dic­tory sense of loss and detach­ment from the past and fur­ther enacts the dis­place­ment of his cul­tural sub­jects. Through the dema­te­ri­al­iza­tion of the object and the image, Ter­ada nods to con­cep­tual prac­tices and con­tin­ues to take up what has been described as “the most sub­tle and nuanced ripostes to Wal­ter Benjamin’s lamen­ta­tion of the loss of art’s aura in the face of mechan­i­cal reproduction.”

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