Sara Mameni is an artist living in Vancouver. She is currently completing her MA thesis in Art History at the University of British Columbia.
June 21–July 26, 2008
Denise Oleksijczuk’s practice often focuses on the thin line between hope and despair. Past projects have included indexical text works including 200 Nouns (2004), a work that offers a litany of nouns to describe the idler that range from derogatory remarks to positive accolades. In The Origin of the World (2005) the artist compiled over 800 words from a variety of sources used to describe women. Humorous and disturbing, serious and laudatory, this work examines social representations of gender. Perennial Love (2005) expands the consideration of the singular noun to include phrases on the subject of love and loss sourced from novels, pop songs and comedy sketches. A crank handle allows the viewer to interact with work and animates the looped scroll, making explicit the artist’s interest in individual agency.
Her most recent project, Role, further investigates individual agency. Moving away from text but offering a continuation of her interest in exploring the limits of human experience, Oleksijczuk engages with the medium and history of film. Based on a reconsideration of Robert Bresson’s 1967 film Mouchette (after Georges Bernanos’ 1937 novella of the same name), Oleksijczuk’s work presents a new end to the story. Casting herself as a grown-up Mouchette, the artist reinterpret’s Bresson’s depiction of a child’s ragged solitude, her Christ-like suffering, and the ultimate control she assumes in her own drowning. In Role, Oleksijczuk reframes Bresson’s infamous suicide scene as a clumsy experiment rather than a transcendent release.
July 23–September 4, 2004
The Poster Project is a window installation to be viewed from the street. Gallery closed.
Sara Mameni uses drawing to labouriously replicate information documents generated in everyday life. Redrawing receipts, newspaper broad sheets and street concert posters, Mameni’s meticulous works mediate authorship while creating portraits of individuals, a day in the media, or of a street location.
Finding interest in documents that are mechanically produced and intended for public dissemination, Mameni’s drawings are performative gestures that question labour, identity and place. The original receipts, newspapers and posters are residual documents that negotiate personal and cultural communication. The drawings are highly detailed observations of these documents, and like Andy Warhol’s drawings of newspaper front pages from the early 1960s or Los Angeles artist Dave Muller’s recent hand-drawn replicas of art posters and invitations, they speak to the mass consumption of culture.
The Poster Project is a concealment of Artspeak’s windows with drawings of street posters. Mameni collected posters from a single pole at Smithe and Granville streets over the period of one year and redrew the graphics to create a portrait of the location. When installed in the windows of Artspeak the drawings at once obscure the gallery space from street view, like postered hoardings conceal a site, and provide a window into another space in the city (Smithe and Granville). The street experience of this installation is in competition with the printed posters and announcements that occupy the neighbouring cafe windows, poles and walls in Gastown. In this competition Mameni’s work questions the gallery space and narrates a portrait in reverse.
Sara Mameni lives and works in Vancouver. She is a graduate of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and studied design in Cyprus prior to moving to Canada. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Atelier Gallery, Vancouver (Drawing on Architecture, curated by Patrik Anderssen, 2003) and the Vancouver Art Gallery (For the Record: Drawing Contemporary Life, curated by Daina Augaitis, 2003), among others.