After a retrospective in 2019 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vikky Alexander presents Nordic Rock, a precious, fantasy-rich installation that contrasts the brutalist and imposing architecture of the Fonderie Darling’s hall.
The industrial setting harbours fragile sculptures representing highly stylized elements of design furniture, such as a bed, a chair, a night table. Made of dichroic glass, an iridescent material that reflects light in a spectrum of colour, these minimal and extremely delicate sculptures are presented on pedestals arranged like islands in the space so as to reinforce their inaccessibility. Akin to jewels or precious stones capturing and reflecting light, these non-functional objects aim to captivate and create desire as they attract viewers and hold their gaze. Their shimmering, transparent surface subtly plays with the patina and architecture of the heritage building. The height of luxury, these works reveal the tremendous tension between the former working-class neighbourhood and the current, massive real estate development intended for a wealthy population.
Staggered with the sculptures and structuring the exhibition, two imposing vinyl murals of photo collages stand opposite each other, covering the full height of two wall sections. Composed of images gleaned from magazines, the murals use collage to associate views of dramatic or sublime landscapes with close-ups of textures, simulations of organic or vegetal matter.
Through these immense windows that open onto fantastical horizons, through the distortion of scale and the games of make-believe, the artist highlights the marketing strategies of appropriating and substituting nature used by the real estate and interior design markets. She also raises the question of authorship by reappropriating and recontextualizing images.
Alexander is a conceptual artist whose work explores the culture of consumerism and fantasy. Her work is distinctive in its ability to examine the world of illusion and material desire by using the language of architecture and design, borrowing from the imagery of high fashion and design magazines to address the themes of desire and commodification and the ways in which society projects us into these unreal environments. Playing with reflective materials and optical illusions and using strategies that trigger unconscious motives, the artist creates minimalist interventions in photography and sculpture.
translated by Oana Avasilichioaei
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After completing a BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), Vikky Alexander began her career in New York City in the early 1980s, working in a very stimulating environment. In the 1990s, Vikky Alexander returned to Canada to teach at the University of Victoria, in Vancouver. In 1995, she participated in the Canada Council Paris Studio Residency, and in 2009, she was the artist in residence at La Cité internationale des arts, in Paris.
Over the course of her career, Vikky Alexander has exhibited her work internationally and at major New York institutions, including the New Museum (1985), the Dia Art Foundation (1988) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1989). In 2018, Canada House in London presented Vikky Alexander : The Spoils of the Park. Last year, the Vancouver Art Gallery presented Extreme Beauty, the first retrospective exhibition of her work. An internationally acclaimed Canadian artist, Vikky Alexander now lives and works in Montreal. She is represented by Cooper Cole in Toronto, Downs & Ross in New York, Trépanier Baer in Calgary and by the Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles.