"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
About the artist
Brian Jungen was born in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada in 1970. He draws from his family’s ranching and hunting background, as well as his Dane-zaa heritage, when disassembling and recombining consumer goods into whimsical sculptures. Jungen transforms plastic chairs into whale skeletons, garbage bins into a giant turtle carapace, sewing tables into a basketball court, golf bags into towering totem poles, and collectible Nike Air Jordan shoes into objects resembling both the ceremonial masks of British Columbian coastal tribes and abstract modernist sculptures. At once direct and disarming, Jungen’s sculptures are entirely familiar in their material and assembly and yet still trick the eye through complex and deft illusions. He has created many works involving animals, from habitats and playgrounds for household pets, to paintings and drums utilizing stretched and tanned hides—demonstrating an interdependence between people and other species as well as between aesthetic form and function. While exquisite for their craftsmanship and graphic use of pattern and color, Jungen’s works also contain subtle critiques of labor practices, global capitalism, and cultural stereotypes.
Brian Jungen attended Emily Carr College of Art + Design (BFA, 1992). Jungen’s awards and residencies include the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2010), Capp Street Project (2004), Sobey Art Award (2002), and The Banff Centre for the Arts residency (1998). Jungen has had major exhibitions at Hannover Kunstverein (2013); Bonner Kunstverein (2013); Art Gallery of Ontario (2013, 2011); Documenta (2012); Shanghai Biennial (2012); Smithsonian Institute—National Museum of the American Indian (2009); Sydney Biennale (2008); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2007); Lyon Biennial (2007); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2006); Tate Modern, London (2006); Vancouver Art Gallery (2006); New Museum, New York (2005); and the Vienna Secession (2003), among others. Brian Jungen lives and works in North Okanagan, BC, Canada.