Rodney Graham, one of Vancouver’s most internationally respected art icons, dies at 73, Cause of Death | Obituary News

Rodney Graham
Rodney Graham

Rodney Graham, one of Vancouver’s most internationally respected art icons, dies at 73, Cause of Death | Obituary News

Rodney Graham, known as one of Canada’s biggest multidisciplinary art stars, has died at the age of 73. News of his death was confirmed by the Lisson Gallery in London, England.

He died Surrounded by family and loved ones, Graham passed away on October 22 after a year-long battle with cancer.

Canadian artist Rodney Graham (1949-2022) used the citation, reference and adaptation system in a practice spanning 5 years. Beginning in the 1980s, Graham expanded his diverse work to include photography, painting, sculpture, film, video and music. As actor, performer, producer, historian, writer, poet, sound engineer, and musician, Graham’s art explores the complexities of Western culture through strategies of disguise, while seamlessly transitioning to different characters and roles . Graham portrayed himself as a disjointed assemblage of characters, with a wide variety of personalities, genres and art forms throughout his career. “It can be a burden to reinvent yourself every time,” Graham said, “but it makes things more interesting.”

Graham’s work often revolves around a central absurdity, and his character is caught in an inevitable loop as if he were cursed. In this sense, the central theme of Graham’s work is the relationship between civilization and nature, and the transformation of traditional genres and linear narrative modes into banality and irony, displacement and multiplication are his preferred artistic strategies. He was inspired by diverse sources such as Sigmund Freud, Mallarmé, Richard Wagner, Edgar Allan Poe, Ian Fleming and the Brothers Grimm. He imitated Donald Judd and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, or recreated Albert Hoffman’s LSD experiment. The artist’s melancholic observation of modernity exudes a mild humor and a certain nostalgia.

Graham’s signature photographic lightbox work is delicate, allegorical and witty, focusing on his use of self-portraits to explore scenes from our collective cultural memory. Each image is a fictional self-portrait of the artist in costume, but is always recognizable and features various characters. From the props and their placement in the frame, to the intricate costumes and sets, every scene — whether created in his former Vancouver studio or in public facilities around the city — is purposefully constructed and Executed, executed with extraordinary technical know-how and humor.

In 1997, Graham represented Canada at the 47th Venice Biennale, where his film The Island of Troubles (1997) won him international acclaim. He was subsequently awarded the Kurt Schwitters Prize in 2003, the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 2004 and the DAAD Fellowship in 2001. In 2011, Graham received the British Columbia Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016, he was awarded the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian contemporary art.

Graham’s work has been the subject of numerous major international solo exhibitions, including a 2004 retrospective that toured the United States and Canada, including at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art, the ICA in Philadelphia, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Other institutional exhibitions include Serlachius Museum Gösta, Mänttä, Finland (2020); Fried Brda Museum, Baden-Baden, Germany (2017); Vrinden Museum, Wassenaar, Netherlands (2017); Baltic Center for Contemporary Art , Gateshead, UK (2017); Le Constortium, Dijon, France (2016); Goetz Collection, Munich, Germany (2015); Charles H. Scott Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Canada Vancouver (2014); Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (2012); Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg, Austria (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, ​​Spain (2010); Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (2009); Whitechapel Fine Arts Museum, London, UK (2002); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2001); and Kunsthalle Vienna, Vienna, Austria (1999).

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