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November 11, 2022

'Vexation Island' — Rodney Graham

Graham, a critically acclaimed Canadian conceptual artist who died at 73 on October 22, 2022, created this video installation as Canada's contribution to the 1997 Venice Biennale.

From the New York Times:

He converted the Canadian pavilion into a wooden-walled space suggesting a Robinson Crusoe-style castaway hut.

Inside, a Technicolor-rich film loop played, showing the artist in the garb of a pirate who appears to be napping blissfully on the sunbaked sands of a desert isle.

But as the loop rolls on, it becomes clear that the stranded seafarer is stuck in a Sisyphean struggle: shaking a tree for a coconut, getting knocked out when the coconut strikes him on the head, then lying unconscious on the sand until the whole episode begins again.

"Infuriatingly hilarious," the critic Dan Cameron wrote in an Artforum review.

November 11, 2022 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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