Vancouver author Lee Henderson wrote The Man Game (Viking/Penguin, 2008), The Broken Record Technique (Viking/Penguin, 2002) and his fiction and visual art journalism has been published in numerous journals and magazines. The Man Game has been described as “a portrait of a lost and fanciful city [Vancouver].” The novel is a highly researched, sprawling tale of 19th century frontier-era Vancouver, its inhabitants, wild west politics, racial tension, and a fictional sport known as “the man game.” He is a contributing editor to Border Crossings and Contemporary, and has curated exhibitions in Vancouver and New York. He is the director/curator of Attache Gallery, a portable art gallery that shows emerging artists, and organizes improvised music events.
Paul McDevitt is a Berlin based artist. His practice includes drawing, sculpture, performance, curatorial projects, and often centres on ideas of artistic labour. He completed his MA at Chelsea College of Art in 2000 and was awarded the Saatchi Fellowship. His work has been internationally exhibited including solo exhibitions at Galerie Martin van Zomeren, Amsterdam; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Sommer & Kohl, Berlin; Kunstverein Schwerte (with Heike Kati Barath), Schwerte, Germany; Berwick Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, UK; Jerwood Foundation, London. Group exhibitions include Kunsthalle Andratx, Majorca, Spain; Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne (MAC/VAL), Paris; The New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK; Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK; Project, Dublin; Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin; Kjubh Kunstverein, Cologne; carlier | gebauer, Berlin; Sparwasser HQ, Berlin. His work is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Sommer & Kohl, Berlin.
Director/Curator of Artspeak 2004–2010.
June 21–August 29, 2009
Performance (with Gabriel Saloman) and bookwork launch (text by Lee Henderson)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 9pm
3092 Fraser Street at Kingsway
Referencing the secret language used by travelers, gypsies, and convicts in Elizabethan England and Ireland, The Cant points to drawing as a codified language. Historically, techniques for obscuring meaning in the language included backwards words, rhyming slang, and arbitrary sounds affixed to meaning. McDevitt’s new work will result from drawings done in remote BC for the month of July, engaging themes from the ‘tall’ stories of campfire tales and pulp fiction. The drawings will be linked by an unspoken logic, a subjective system that will be revealed to the audience through the bookwork and the interventionist strategies of the performance that include music and shadow play.
The project begins with McDevitt’s retreat to a remote location outside of Vancouver to spend two weeks drawing in isolation. Expanding on his practice of the one day solitary drawing and elements of improvisation, McDevitt anticipates creating 500 drawings in which a private language will be evoked. The lack of spoken or written language involved in this process (and the nurturing of intuition) is crucial for McDevitt’s process.
The second phase of the project will be an attempt to decipher these codes and to present an interpretation to audiences. As the title suggests, McDevitt will find a way to parse the codes into a common language, something both improvised and understood between the artist and the audience. The drawings will be compiled, scanned, and collated into a substantial bookwork that will be launched in conjunction with the performance. The performance will use shadow puppets and recorded and live audio in keeping with the graphic and campfire nature of the original drawings to provide another access point to the codified logic. Both the bookwork and performance will be developed and realized concurrently during a short timeframe, relying on improvisation.
McDevitt’s drawings and set pieces will be installed in Artspeak’s windows during the month of August.
Title: The Cant
Category: Artist Book
Artist: Paul McDevitt
Writer: Lee Henderson
Design: Jen Eby
Printer: Budget Printing, Vancouver
Year published: 2009
Binding: Perfect Bound
Features: 500 b&w images
Dimensions: 27.5 x 21.5 x 3.5 cm
Weight: 2.8 kg
Price: $5 CDN