Hand Vote, 2008
Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery
Hand Vote, 2008
wood and paint
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Ryan Thayer
Artist Kota Ezawa’s diverse projects take the form of digital
animations, slide projections, lightboxes, paper cut-outs, intaglio etchings,
ink drawings and wood sculptures. Using well-known images from the
history of photography, film and the popular media, Ezawa’s pared down
renderings speak to the iconic status of photography; despite the
elimination of much information, the source is often still recognizable.
Through this elaborate transformation of existing images, Ezawa’s work
comments on the role of photography in shaping our perception of reality,
the spectacular nature of the media and the limits of memory.
For Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, Ezawa’s large-scale wooden tableau pictures a group of people raising their hands to vote in what appears to be a town hall meeting. The work is a visual representation of democracy by one of its most prevalent signifiers: the vote. Ezawa’s rendering is faithful to the original source image by maintaining the photograph’s basic structure and framing. By eliminating details, the image refers less to a specific group of individuals, and more to a general sign of a collective body united in a common purpose. In light of recent events in which demands for societal reform have become apparent both in Canada and abroad, Ezawa’s portrait of democracy could not be more timely.
Kota Ezawa has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions across Canada and the United States, and in group exhibitions at such prominent institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Art Institute of Chicago and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris to name a few.
Offsite is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Kathleen Ritter, associate curator. Offsite is funded by the City of Vancouver through the Public Art Program. The Gallery recognizes Ian Gillespie, President, Westbank; Ben OFFSITE Yeung, President, Peterson Investment Group; and the residents of Shangri-La for their support of this space.
Generously Supported by our Visionary Partner:
Michael O'Brian Family Foundation