; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: April 2007

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Oracles, Herzog, and Acting

You can't tell, but in that giant lampshade is housed a giant tarantula. And so we have one of the excellent exhibits currently being shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Last night was donation night, so we went to check it out and by golly, I would go back and pay full price to see these exhibits! As should you!

First up was a photography exhibit titled Acting The Part. It was all about photography being a form of theatre, telling a story, etc. It was aight, nothing great, but not boring. It was the least favourite of the 3 exhibits I saw.

On the second floor was the fantastic and controversial House of Oracles, A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective. It caused a ruckus because it contains living creatures, insects to be exact. Animal rights groups are protesting the exhibit, but I for one found it fascinating. Creepy crawly, but fascinating. It is only one part out of the whole show, but it is probably by far the most thrilling and definitely the centerpiece of it all.

Titled "Theatre of the World", it features a cage of sorts, made of wood and mesh, and inside are placed live lizards, toads, scorpions, tarantulas, cockroaches, millipedes, and crickets to see how they all interact. It's to showcase power dynamics, representing a microcosm of the world. It also alludes to the old Chinese story of Gu:

The name of a specific kind of poison said to have been produced in South China. This poison was prepared by putting in the same pot five venomous creatures—a centipede, a snake, a scorpion, a toad, and a lizard—and leaving them for a year. The animals gradually ate one another, and the final corpse found in a year was supposed to possess a powerful, “magical” poison that combines all five. The five animals are called “the five noxious creatures” (wu du, literally “five poisons”).

Granville and Robson, circa 1960s by Fred Herzog

Finally, the third floor was home to the Fred Herzog exhibit which features photos from the 50s and 60s of Vancouver. My favourite decades of my own hometown caught on film? Sign me up! It was very interesting to see how much the city has changed, but moreso to see the 50s and 60s culture of real life people set in familliar territory. For more Herzog, check out his website.

All in all, the art gallery right now is a must-see! If you're in a time crunch, start up on the 3rd floor to check the Fred Herzog stuff first and then work your way down. We got booted out before seeing all his photos so I definitely need to go back.

The Fred Herzog show runs until May 13, and the House of Oracles runs to September 16.