Vancouver Report: From One Body to Another
References to bodies—human and otherwise—link a number of recent Vancouver exhibitions. Together, they offer passage to different realms
On display upstairs from WAAP, at Fazakas Gallery, are masks from the Undersea Kingdom series (2016–2017) by the late Beau Dick—the celebrated carver, artist, activist and hereditary chief passed away earlier this year. The works were shown this Summer as part of Documenta 14, in Athens and then in Kassel, where I was also privileged to have seen them. On the first morning of my two-day Documenta ticket, I had been moving venue to venue without the daybook or map for guidance, and had arrived at the series unprepared for its arresting affect.
Whether due to their cultural importance beyond a contemporary art context, to their symbolic materiality, to their innovative forms, or to some permeating unseen energy, their impact compared to other Documenta 14 works was unparalleled. I felt humbled in their presence—and still do, seeing them here. I want to ask them where they’ve been, and where they’ll go, half expecting the answer to involve some passage through another realm.