Brian Jungen is one of the most significant figures on the Canadian and international art scene today. His unique aesthetic unites the main issues involved in a type of representation suffused with critical symbolism and the affirmation of his mixed heritage: Swiss and First Nations (his mother belonged to the Doig River Band of the Danezaa Nation). With a certain technical and plastic virtuosity, he literally transforms a wide assortment of utilitarian, connotation-filled objects (running shoes, baseball bats, golf bags, plastic garden chairs) to create a fantastical world in which ordinary consumer items or coveted status goods take on new meanings. Turned into startling, political versions of Aboriginal masks, large totem poles or shaman’s wands, or else giant whale skeletons, his hybrid, cohesive, concise sculptures have become widely known.
Presented at the museum last summer as part of the exhibition Zoo, the sculpture Tomorrow, Repeated, 2010, employs the strategies we have become accustomed to with Jungen: recognizable objects reappear and are combined seemingly by chance—in this specific case, a moose hide stretched over a car fender and set on a base that is actually an all-white chest freezer. In addition to the connections it makes with hunting (for survival), with the way the end product is preserved (in the freezer) and with the notion of trophy (the animal triumphantly tied to the vehicle roof), the work repositions the sculptural object within the context of its history, the history of art—and by extension, that of the artist—just as it suggests a particular, disturbing and powerful narrativity. The Musée received support from the Canada Council for the Arts, under its Acquisition Assistance program, for this new acquisition.
Josée Bélisle, Curator of the Collection