Vernissage: October 10 from 3 to 5pm. The artist will be present.
Galerie Hugues Charbonneau is pleased to welcome Maria Hupfield for her second solo exhibition at the gallery. Based on her performance titled Jiimaan, which took place in Venice in May 2015, Stay Golden presents a new collection of gold sculptures, a life-size grey felt canoe, and a two-channel video.
Maria Hupfield’s installations, much like her performances, employ various strategies for occupying space. The artist is interested in how the charged identity of sites can impact our behaviour, but also how they can define our identity or change our perception of things. How do we appropriate a new place for ourselves? How do we activate the places that surround us? Can these be a source of empowerment or of communion with the past?
Similarly, material culture and the symbolic or emotional value we imbue certain objects with, is at the core of her research. In the gallery, public memory is superimposed on the artist’s own, through objects in her Trophy Wall, an assemblage of grey felt or gold fabric sculptures; relics and artefacts of one or many previous performances. This commemorative wall suggests both a celebration and a laying to rest of these now “museum-ified” objects.
Hupfield’s hand-made nine-foot canoe is the central element of the Jiimaan performance, which the artist enacted as part of the Ga ni tha exhibition in the Campo dei Gesuiti in Venice. An eponymous two-channel video retraces the different stages of this intervention: over three consecutive days, Hupfield performed before the public each evening, then recreated the previous night’s performance the following morning, alone and from memory.
This piece reveals key concepts in the artist’s work, namely proficiency, cultural memory, and the body’s presence. She proposes a meeting between nations and their history through the Canadian and Anishinaabe traditions of birch bark canoe building, paralleling this with the fabrication of gondolas by Venetian artisans. Moreover, the participatory nature of Jiimaan’s public performances makes direct reference to Anishinaabe oral traditions and Hupfield’s desire to create memories through shared human experience.
Maria Hupfield’s work extends through performance, installation, sculpture, video, photography, and collage. Over the past ten years, numerous institutions throughout Canada, the US, and Europe have presented her work and performances in solo and group exhibitions, namely the North American Native Museum, Zurich (2014), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2014), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C. (2013), the National Gallery of Canada (2013), the Museum of Art and Design, New York (2012), the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe (2011), and the McCord Museum, Montréal (2011). Maria Hupfield is a Canadian artist of Anishinaabe (Ojibway) heritage, and a member of the Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.