Fire/Fire – Vancouver art exhibition addressing, among other things, development by fire

These photos are from a long Japanese ukiyo-e scroll dating from the 1890s. The art work is on loan to Vancouver’s Centre A Gallery as part of a collaborative installation by Vancouver artists Marina Roy and Abbas Akhavan, titled Fire/Fire. It’s an interesting show; I viewed it last night at the opening. From the curator’s remarks:

Fire/Fire calls out like a warning of obvious danger, perhaps too late. The title derived from the Great Fire of Meireki, which destroyed more than half of the Japanese capital city of Edo [ancient Tokyo], leading to the redistribution of power and the establishment of the Edo period that gave birth to the tradition of Ukiyo-e prints in Japan. It also refers to the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886, which razed most of the newly incorporated city, and more recently the building fires that expelled artists from their studios, paving the way for new real estate and condo development.”

Kyosai Kawabata, “Album of One Hundred Ghosts.” Accordion fold woodblock print book.

More from the description:

“At Centre A, artist Marina Roy will exhibit a new video animation that depicts scenes of public and private life being overtaken by animistic creatures called yokai; these creatures allegorize the aftermath of human disaster and environmental collapse. The animation will be juxtaposed with an aquarium installation of salmon and catfish. In cultivating fish in the gallery the artist wishes to point to compartmentalized zones of bio-political control and gentrification beyond the gallery’s glass facade.

Using Centre A’s architecture, artist Abbas Akhavan will create a site specific artwork that address themes related to shifting economies in Vancouver’s real estate and urban development, natural disasters and local fires.

Fire/Fire will also include a selection of original Ukiyo-e prints and a book from the personal collections of John O’Brian and Paul de Guzman. The final component of the exhibition will be a collaborative artist book developed by Roy and Akhavan scheduled to be published in Fall 2012.”

Continue here.

Also read a short piece by Amy Fung.

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