Brian Jungen, Duane Linklater
Modest Livelihood
June 7–July 20, 2013

Catriona Jeffries is pleased to announce Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater’s exhibition, Modest Livelihood. Their film work, Modest Livelihood, will be shown alongside a series of four 16mm film loops, taken from over 50 hours of footage shot during two hunting trips in Dane-zaa Territory in Northern British Columbia in 2011.

Using only available light and purposefully shot on 16mm – a medium that cannot simultaneously return images in the moment they have been captured – the camera takes an observational position following the artists and Jungen’s uncle Jack Askoty, a Doig River First Nations elder, as they move through the landscape timed by the rising and setting days. The minimal framing and editing lends a slightly impartial air to what the camera chooses to see, be it the myriad shades of autumn in the enveloping landscape, the banalities of their camp, or the subsequent end of the film with the preparation and skinning of the moose they have hunted.

Jungen and Linklater’s film is silent, yet the images clearly represent the hunt as anything but. There is a form of exclusion apparent as the silence of the images maintains the viewer at a firm distance while at the same time evoking the slow, discreet nature of hunting. One can easily imagine the sound of the wind swaying through trees and the ringing out of a gun blast in early dawn as the film strains to capture the moose in nearly indiscernible dawn light. We see the artists in conversation, the nature of which Jungen and Linklater have noted covered contemporary art and music, topics usually not discussed when hunting with their families. It is in this very particular context that the artists cite as references such diverse films as Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979) and Cree Hunters of the Mistassini made by the National Film Board of Canada in 1974.

For Jungen, of Dane-zaa and European ancestry, and Linklater, who is Omaskêko Cree, the ritual of the hunt is a customary practice of ancestral tradition and central to their First Nations identity. The hunt is also deeply inextricable from century old treaty rights of First Nations, which the title of the film references. The Marshall decision of 1999 saw the Supreme Court of Canada uphold the native fishing rights of Donald Marshall who had been charged with fishing out of season. His Mi’kmaq rights under treaties from the 1760s excused him from regulations, however the controversial decision included conditions that this activity did not exceed “moderate livelihood,” which “includes such basics as ‘food, clothing and housing, supplemented by a few amenities,’ but not the accumulation of wealth.” In the making of this film, Jungen and Linklater exercise their rights under Treaty 8, which covers a large part of Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and parts of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. The significance of this Treaty has been brought into sharp focus in current debates around resource extraction, and its legality under Treaty 8 which was signed over a century ago.

Brian Jungen (b. 1970, Fort St. John, British Columbia) lives and works in Vancouver. His solo exhibition currently installed at the Hannover Kunstverein will travel to the Bonner Kunstverein in November of this year. Modest Livelihood will be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario this fall, following its debut at the Walter Philips Gallery, Banff and subsequent exhibition at the Reva and David Logan Center Gallery, University of Chicago in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2011); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); Strange Comfort, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC (2009); Le Frac des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou, France (2009); Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2007); Tate Modern, London (2006); Vancouver Art Gallery (2006); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2006); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2006); New Museum, New York ( 2005). Recent group exhibitions include dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); Manufacture, CentrePasquArt Biel, Switzerland (2012); Shanghai Biennial (2012); Hard Targets, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2009), Moby Dick, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2009), Sydney Biennale (2008), NeoHooDoo: Art For A Forgotten Faith, The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; Miami Art Museum; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2008), The Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican Art Gallery, London (2008), The History of a Decade That Has Not Yet Been Named, Lyon Biennial , Lyon, (2007). A monograph on his work was published in 2005 by the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Duane Linklater (b. 1976, Moose Factory, Ontario) lives and works in North Bay, Ontario. Modest Livelihood will be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario this fall, following its debut at the Walter Philips Gallery, Banff and subsequent exhibition at the Reva and David Logan Center Gallery, University of Chicago in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include Something about Encounter, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario (2013); Grain(s), (collaboration with Tanya Lukin Linklater), Images Festival / Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2013); Secondary Explanation, The New Gallery, Calgary (2013); Raspberry Cargo, Family Business Gallery, New York (2013); Beothuck Building, OR Gallery, Vancouver (2012). He has exhibited and screened his work nationally and internationally in group exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Alberta, Anthology Film Archives, New York and the Power Plant in Toronto.

Documentation by SITE Photography.