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Rodney Graham

Canadian  •  b. 1949

Biography

Rodney Graham pulls from cultural and intellectual history through photography, film, music, performance and painting. He presents narratives with puns and references to literature and philosophy, including Sigmund Freud and Kurt Cobain, with a sense of humor that contradicts his residence in the post-punk scene of late 1970s Vancouver.

In his film trilogy Vexation Island (1999), How I Became a Ramblin' Man (1999) and City Self/Country Self (2001), the artist plays characters like a castaway and a cowboy caught in repetitive cycles of actions and gestures. Such unconscious dream states are further explored in Graham's series of upside-down photographs of oak trees, which are hung to mimic camera obscura.

Insights

  • A postage stamp depicting a photograph from Graham's 'Vignettes of Life' series, Basement Camera Shop circa 1937, was issued in March 2013 by Canada Post. The image is a recreation of a snapshot discovered by the artist at an antique store. 

  • Rodney Graham represented Canada at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997.

  • Graham continues to live in Vancouver and is represented by Hauser & Wirth, Lisson Gallery and 303 Gallery, among others.

"You don't have to delve very deeply into modern physics to realize that the scientific view holds that the world is really not as it appears. Before the brain rights it, the eye sees a tree upside down in the same way it appears on the glass back of the large format field camera I use."

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