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Brian Jungen Friendship Centre Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Visitors in Brian Jungen Friendship Centre, June 20 – August 25th, 2019, Art Gallery of Ontario. Work shown: Modest Livelihood, 2018 © Brian Jungen. Photo: Dean Tomlinson © Art Gallery of Ontario

Creating a truly immersive art setting

Another great collaboration between the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Panasonic, demonstrating their mutual dedication to bringing Canadian art to the forefront, showcased artist Brian Jungen’s remarkable artwork in a powerful and compelling solo exhibition. Brian Jungen Friendship Centre focused on the artist’s potent sculptural works, and also showed his extensive archive and a Director’s Cut of his five-channel film, Modest Livelihood (Director’s Cut). Through this exhibition, Panasonic’s products were seen by a large number of museum visitors who visited the exhibition.

Challenges

The AGO strives to use projection and visual technology that allows the art to be highlighted first and foremost, while taking into account the artist’s needs, the parameters of the space and the technology available. Photographic and video documentation of the artist’s archival materials was one of the first areas visitors encountered upon entering the exhibition space. The work needed a professional display like feel – larger-than-life and high definition, with zero glare, and minimal bezel. An average pro display would not do justice to the artist’s highly detailed work, and the AGO sought Panasonic’s advice on what kind of Pro- display could deliver the scale and quality needed.

Solutions

Panasonic presented the AGO with the idea of using a 98-inch commercial display not yet available on the market, and sent through a sample so that the AGO could review the product. The TH-98SQ1 Pro display was exactly what was needed in terms of minimal bezel and glare, a large screen of exceptional 4k picture quality to render intricately detailed images, sharp imaging and vivid colours. Elsewhere in the exhibition, Panasonic’s RZ770 projector was used for the installation of the five-channel color film Modest Livelihood (Director’s Cut). This film follows Jungen and fellow artist Duane Linklater on a moose hunt, through northern Alberta and British Columbia. The use of a high-quality projector allowed the film to be viewed in the most impactful way.

Results

The seamless installation, professional mounting and technology that highlighted Jungen’s thought-provoking work met the AGO and the artist’s standard for excellence. The exhibition opened with a room dedicated to the artist’s archive. It included a wall of Nike shoe boxes which the artist used for many of his sculptures, and that continue to house many of his inspirations. Visitors kept coming back to the intimate space to learn more about the artist’s dynamic, evolving practice. Three of Panasonic’s 98-inch Professional displays installed side by side created an impactful visual experience that resonated with visitors.

Bold platforms for a prolific artist

An internationally respected and celebrated artist whose work is in the permanent collections of major museums throughout the world, Brian Jungen repurposes objects such as Nike Air Jordan running shoes, and golf bags to create sculptures and installations that reflect his heritage and important social and environmental concerns.

Brian Jungen Friendship Centre, his largest solo exhibition to date, was held in the AGO’s expansive Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion from June 20 – August 25, 2019. The exhibition attracted a young and diverse audience.

Set on a full-size basketball court designed by the artist, the exhibition featured Jungen’s inventive sculptures which reference Northwest Coast masks and Plains Indigenous Peoples war bonnets and totem poles. The exhibition also featured blankets made from professional sports jerseys, a series of carved gasoline jugs, and Cetology, the imposing 48.9-foot-long sculpture of a whale skeleton made from white plastic patio chairs. There were also hundreds of black shoeboxes stacked to the ceiling, and images from his archival images and video of his life and work.

A large format to display large ideas

Visitors were invited to view images from Jungen’s archive in a dark, comfortable room stacked with gym mats near the exhibition’s entrance. One of the first areas of the exhibition people explored, a five-hour looping slideshow on three different screens was a pivotal way of introducing Jungen’s extensive oeuvre.

Over the course of the sixty-seven-day exhibition audiences observed his vast body of work, and the important issues he engages with, including consumerism, commodification, colonialism and Indigenous cultures.

In another area of the vast, intricately arranged exhibition space, the 46-minute un-spliced film Modest Livelihood (Director’s Cut) was projected using PT-RZ770 projector technology. The PT-RZ770 revealed the film’s dazzling vistas, expansive landscapes and breathtaking scenes involving traditional moose-hunting techniques and traditions in crisp, high-contrast colours.

The AGO received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from visitors about the inclusion of Jungen’s archival footage and video work:

“The exhibition surpassed my expectations, and I returned a second time in order to watch the videos in full.”

“The five-channel video was great, the ‘behind-the-scenes’ video really allowed for access into the artist’s thinking.”

“Seeing his whole career come together was really special.”

“Beautifully curated, great video intro, fascinating works, simply designed and effective.”

“Loved the unspliced film. Just loved it.”

“I loved that my six-year-old also loved it! The mats to sit on while watching the video installation were comfortable, and the exhibition had my daughter guessing and asking questions about each sculpture.”

Highlighting important issues in impactful ways

Visitors of all ages were captivated by the moving images on view. The 98-inch larger-than-life professional 4K displays created a high-impact experience that left visitors coming back again and again. The integration of the screens and the exhibition design resulted in a strong, cohesive feel and a captivating experience
for visitors.

Supporting an exceptional Canadian artist with the technology to match his vision, Panasonic’s professionalism, reliability and dedication to the integrity of the project were invaluable.

“Since the screens were still in pre-production, Panasonic did the background work necessary to ensure that we were able to meet our delivery dates for the exhibition,” said Iain Hoadley, General Manager, Logistics and Art Services.

This exercise spoke to the strength of our partnership with Panasonic, and the fact that they were so open to collaborating in this holistic process was extremely helpful.
Iain Hoadley, General Manager, Logistics and Art Services Art Gallery of Ontario

Streamlined technology at the forefront of innovation

In a polished gallery space with hundreds of people coming and going every day, it was important that the technology was unobtrusive in every way, and Panasonic was able to providejust that.

“The technology that Panasonic provided allowed us to present the work in the most impactful way possible. With high resolution, a 90-degree viewing angle, zero to little glare, and professional mounting, the screens almost disappeared, which allowed us to achieve the projector look and feel we were after, without actually using projectors. This, in turn, allowed us to deliver an immersive experience for our visitors,” said Patric Colosimo, Senior Media Technician, Logistics & Art Services.

We don’t want to use clunky technology because we don’t want to distract or take away from visitors’ experience of the artwork.
Patric Colosimo, Senior Media Technician, Logistics & Art Services Art Gallery of Ontario

 

Visitors in Brian Jungen Friendship Centre, June 20 – August 25th, 2019, Art Gallery of Ontario. Works shown: Archival Video Footage and Archival Boxes © Brian Jungen. Photo: Dean Tomlinson © Art Gallery of Ontario

A positive collaborative experience

The AGO and Panasonic were able to communicate in a way that benefitted the artist, helping bring to life his unique, engaging work.

We felt like we were truly collaborating and navigating how to achieve our goal together. We were presented with leading-edge technology and we weren’t ‘buying in the dark’ – we had the advice of skilled experts in the field to ensure that we landed on the right technology for our needs.
Kristyn Rolanty, Project Manager, Exhibitions Art Gallery of Ontario