Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

“her rain”

“her rain”
Lani Maestro

Curator: Makiko Hara

October 16- December 4, 2010
Opening: Friday, October 15, 8:00 pm
Public Lecture by the artist, Wednesday, October 20, 7:00 pm
Emily Carr University, Room 301, South Building

Centre A is pleased to present new work by internationally acclaimed Canadian artist Lani Maestro, “her rain”.  Maestro often uses minimal and simple visual language to address the complexities of human nature, dignity and conditions in our social, cultural and political realities as we experience them in everyday life. Her works are poetic, powerful and complex and defy conventional interpretation. In the space Maestro creates with “her rain” at Centre A, she poses an open-ended philosophical question: “how is subjectivity situated?”

“her rain” responds directly to the location of the gallery and its cultural significance, based on the artist’s preliminary visit there in 2008. Maestro wrote,

No Pain Like This Body, these are the words that first came to my head when i walked down hastings street in vancouver to look at your space two years ago. it has not gone away. it repeats itself. how can one ignore the particularity of that place? as much as i just want to think about making work without thinking of the people who inhabited that neighborhood, these words seem to sum up the energy that i absorbed there. No Pain Like This Body are not my words but those of harold sunny ladoo (1945-73), who wrote an acclaimed book of the same title (Anansi, 1972)… as the story of most immigrants go ladoo came to canada with his family in search for a better life from trinidad. ladoo wrote passionately with a style that was particularly of his place words wrapped up in an english of tropical intonations and curses that rhymed with melodies of earth’s tremor in the beating of endless monsoon

i have never forgotten how this book stayed/stuck with me like mud for he was able to capture through language a different way of speaking about poverty and misery and nature’s unforgiving way of making things worse. it is inspiring to feel in his writing the possibility for words to somehow transcend pain as we know it simplyit taps on that “difference” that brings about a subjectivity that makes it all concrete and so we are brought to a mindful presence.  i think that this mindful presence is what I try to follow in my country of making art. It is a way to escape the regime of representation so i could retrieve my sensuality and discover something else beyond that of what I already know.

In her new site-specific installation, entitled No Pain Like This Body, Maestro transforms the entire gallery space of Centre A into a large sculpture using very minimal elements; a text fabricated by neon sign and its reflection on the floor where the artist invites visitors to physically experience a sensual feeling of self-emancipation, a “mindful presence.” It is accompanied by the animated text video entitled brenda console, a rear projection viewed from the street that acts simultaneously as sculpture, architecture and body posing questions of positionality. Who is speaking?  It raises questions of subjectivity, agency, and worldview that ultimately brings us to a coming to “difference”.

her rain” is the first major commissioned work and presentation by the artist on the West Coast of Canada. The work will be presented again in her solo exhibition at ICA Plug In, in their new building in the fall of 2011. The exhibition publication will include an introduction by the curator, Makiko Hara, and an essay by the award-winning Montréal-based poet Erin Moure.

“In the evacuated body of the gallery, there are but two arteries of neon curled into words  – no body like this pain – and a text (confined) like the news read over modern tickertape, on an iPhone with Screed perhaps, horizontal, black and white. The real speech is outside, where the street’s voracity merges with the voracity of any spectator, and is fed a rain of words from a console that does not console. A history of blood, then, drives us outside, into the rain: rain of blows. Her rain. Her reign. “brenda console” addresses the inhabitants of the favela of downtown Vancouver, where people live in poverty and sometimes with toxins of their own ingestion, but their unremoveable dignity is that they remain addressees, interlocutors. Maestro’s “her rain” evacuates the inside, then, but outside, it addresses, stores, imbibes and rains the vocables of this dignity.” – Erin Moure

Lani Maestro is a Canadian artist born in the Philippines, who now divides her time between France and Canada. Maestro has been a Canadian representative to numerous international exhibitions including 9th Sharjah BiennialSharjah, United Arab Emirates (2009) Mixed Bathing Worlds, The Beppu Project, Beppu, Japan, (2009), 3rdShanghai Biennial , Shanghai, China (2000), 11th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (1998), 5th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (1997), Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia (1997) andTraversées/Crossings” at the National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa (1998). In 1986 Lani Maestro was awarded the Biennal Prize for her work in the Segunda Bienal de la Habana in Havana, Cuba. Recent solo exhibitiions include, je suis toi., Eglise Saint Nicholas, Wharf, Centre d’art contemporain de Bassse-Normandie, Caen, France (2006),Sing Mother (Twilight eats you), The Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia,  (2006) and currently,The Forgetting of Air in collaboration with American composer, Malcolm Goldstein at The Darling Foundry in Montreal.

This exhibition is supported with funds from Arts Partners in Creative Development, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Centre A gracefully acknowledge the generous support of its patrons, sponsors, members, partners, private foundations, and government funding agencies including the British Columbia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs.  The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts.


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