Rodney Graham
Vexation Island and Other Works
9 September – 25 September 1998

In the summer of 1997, Rodney Graham premiered his video installation Vexation Island at the 47th Venice Biennale. That exhibition, organized for the Canada Pavilion by the Art Gallery of York University, received rave reviews from the critics and the public alike. The AGYU is pleased to bring Vexation Island back to Canada as part of our exhibition of film and video works by Rodney Graham.

Vexation Island is a cinematic “adventure film” which tells the story of an 18th-century Englishman who wakes to find himself stranded on a desert isle. Originally shot in 35mm film, the work is presented as an eight-minute video loop that retains the widescreen image of its original film format. Vexation Island begins slowly with a bird’s eye view of the tropical island followed by shots of an unconscious figure in the sand. What lies ahead is an impossible tale of divided consciousness, where long bouts of sleep meet with brief awakenings, repeatedly, forever.

This exhibition includes Vexation Island as well as Graham’s other film and video works, Coruscating Cinnamon Granules (1996), Halcion Sleep (1994), and Two Generators (1984). Within these works are shared themes revolving around the institution of cinema, the narrative loop, and the realms of consciousness and sleep. They are ideas, in fact, which permeate much of Graham’s art.

A catalogue, with essay by AGYU Assistant Curator Jack Liang, will accompany this exhibition. Following the York show, Rodney Graham’s exhibition travels to the National Gallery of Canada.




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