Kara Uzelman

Berlin based Canadian visual artist Kara Uzelman (b. 1978) is a graduate of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver. Since 2002 she has shown work in numerous group and solo exhibitions including Artspeak, Vancouver; Vancouver Art Gallery; Justine M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto; Latitude 53, Edmonton; Sommer & Kohl, Berlin; Pari Nadimi, Toronto and has been highlighted in both national and local publications. Uzelman is also a member of the Vancouver based artist collective Norma. With an educational background based in urban planning, fine arts and archeology, Uzelman has developed process-based, site-specific sculpture and installation works focusing on the rehabilitation of objects and artifacts in her surrounding environment. This process began when she bought entire garage sales and transforming these collections into sculptures, installations, and performance props. In conjunction with a mentorship in Archaeology in 2006, she gathered a team of volunteers to conduct a four-month excavation of her back yard in Vancouver. This informed several exhibitions over the past three years and resulted in a series of performance props, tools, objects and documentary images. Uzelman’s work is based on an interest in the historical and imagined narratives inherent in the objects that surround her.


  • Spill 03: Paysages incertain

    December 4–January 22, 2005

    Montréal artist Isabelle Hayeur completes the Spill series with Spill 03: Paysages incertains. Hayeur’s photographs and video work appear to be documents of sublime landscapes, when in fact they are digital manipulations that reiterate the constant interference that human activity enacts upon rural and wilderness terrain. The result are disturbing possible worlds fabricated by blending different sites into a single territory. Hayeur’s subtle interventions destabilize familiar viewpoints and call into question the viewer’s notions of aesthetic satisfaction and the state of the landscape.

    Hayeur’s photographs hover in a state of ambiguity: far from romanticizing ‘pristine’ environments, she calls upon the viewer to question notions of aesthetic satisfaction while examining the impact of western development models on the environment. The unknown, or unknowable, places she fabricates by combining aspects of different sites into a single zone, draws attention to the non-places that surround us. Between critique and disturbance, Hayeur creates a unique attraction, difficult to name or qualify.

    The Spill series has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and The City of Vancouver.

  • Spill 02: Meniscus

    October 23–November 27, 2004

    The second exhibition in the Spill series, Meniscus, features four artists working with the residual mass and indivisible remainder of everyday life through strategies of repetition and reenactment. Exploring the permeability of materials, spaces and systems of containment, these artists make tangible the impulse to shore up the arbitrary boundaries between spaces and concepts, and conscious and unconscious behaviours. In addition, Ana Rewakowicz will inhabit an inflatable latex room (cast from her home in Montréal) during the opening of Meniscus. Rewakowicz is travelling across Canada with her room.

    Luis Jacob gives character to the shapeless community of isolated individuals consuming waves of spam advertising that arrive at their computer terminals. Just Do It! transposes the litany of failed transformations promised by products marketed through the internet into ‘worldly’ architecture.

    Kelly Mark uses her own ‘will to order’ to investigate potential moments of individuation that leak out of the repetitive, obsessive tasks of the day to day. I Really Should is a recorded list of one thousand things the artist really should do. From eating more fibre or taking more chances to cleaning the litter box, this verbal collection of one thousand things permeates the gallery’s architecture.

    Corin Sworn examines how contemporary popular culture showcases models of the private sphere rendering them as symptoms of an ideal interiority. Sworn begins with Lissitzky’s 1926 design of a room to display Russian art. Inverting Lissitzky’s model of an interior intentionally designed as a public stage set, Sworn investigates models of interiority prepared to receive the viewers imaginings of a private living space.

    Kara Uzelman explores the urge for accumulation in performance and sculpture. In a hotel room all the furniture is in a heap, cast-off clothing in her bedroom is sewn together in a lump, in a park all the dogs are corralled into a camera viewfinder. Interested in piling and purging, Uzelman has worked with an entire garage sale, purchasing and inhabiting the remnants of a stranger’s discarded physical existence.

    The Spill series has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and The City of Vancouver.

  • Spill 01: Collapse

    September 11–October 16, 2004

    Vancouver artist Scott Massey opens Artspeak’s Spill series with Spill 01: Collapse. Questioning order and control, Massey’s work takes on the illusionary boundaries between man and the landscape. His work explores the uneasy relationship between culture and nature, such as photographic images of artificial light illuminating a nocturnal landscape and sculptural investigations into the effects of man-made light on the processes of shedding and growth. His photographs, sculptures and interventions observe this mutual overflow as various forms of control collapse and cultural classification systems are revealed to be unstable.

    The works in Collapse engage with aspects of the landscape that display evidence of reciprocity between culture and nature. A series of ten photographs document signs in a northern Canadian dump that indicate how to separate your garbage. This imposed system of order can be seen as a false construct as the items left at the dump are uncontained and ultimately break down into the surrounding wilderness. The work ironically shows the rudimentary classification systems against a background of seemingly uninhabited landscape. In addition to the photographs, Massey’s sculptural work reveals how artificial illumination affects natural processes. In the centre of the gallery, Massey’s circular installation of grass grows toward the lamp at the sculpture’s heart, the blades of grass leaning phototropically toward the light. Here, synthetic illumination becomes a controlled stand-in for the sun. In Collapse, Massey’s social portrait questions the separations we place between the urban environment and the perceived unsettled landscape beyond.

    The Spill series has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and The City of Vancouver.

Talks & Events

  • Artspeak at Subvision, Hamburg

    August 26–September 6, 2009

    Artspeak has been invited to participate in Subvision, an arts event in Hamburg’s HafenCity on the port. From August 26 to September 6, 2009,thirty international artists’ initiatives will present varied artistic efforts and mediation strategies to the public on an undeveloped site that will be temporarily populated by shipping containers. The focus is on the cultural strategies of artist collectives, artist-run spaces, nomadic projects, archives, curatorial, and artistic networks. Traditional forms of cultural activity – art fairs, biennales, and large-scale events – are intentionally confronted here with opposing formats and experimental ways of (re)presentation and distribution. Often, the common element in these heterogeneous, mainly project-related, temporary alliances is a self-organized, collaborative method of working as well as an emphasis on situative intervention. Independent, viral distribution paths and networks develop, under not infrequently precarious production conditions.

    As an extension of Artspeak’s OFFSITE activity, Subvision affords an opportunity to extend our programming beyond Vancouver. Artspeak is working with visual artist Kara Uzelman and writer Lee Henderson, and has asked them to collaborate on a site specific, processual project for Subvision. Reflecting Artspeak’s mandate to foster dialogue between contemporary art and writing, this collaboration will operate on a shared interest in both factual and fictional histories to undertake a consideration of the Subvision site (and Hamburg) through a Vancouver lens. Subvision is providing Artspeak with two containers as a site for the collaborative activities between Uzelman and Henderson, as well as to house an archive of Artspeak’s publications. Uzelman and Henderson will work both materially and performatively. One framing device for their project is to consider and map Vancouver onto Hamburg, examining the port cities’ shared attributes. This mapping might manifest in a written (fictional) history, walking tours, installations, excavations, music, and readings.

  • Speakeasy: Territory

    January 25–January 26, 2007


    Am Johal (Writer/Social Activist), Thomas Kemple (Sociologist), Germaine Koh (Artist/Curator)


    Jamie Hilder (Artist/Critic), Kara Uzelman (Artist)

    Rethinking how civic space is defined, Speakeasy: Territory is a series of talks and readings that address the mutable definition of “territory.” Questioning whether “territory” is a spatial, geographic, political, economic, or social construct, urban space will be taken up as a contestable subject.

    In 2005 Artspeak hosted the inaugural Speakeasy: Serial Space. Through six presentations, this event approached space as an endless repetition of particular spaces that appear throughout our conventions of “urban” or “nature.” Speakeasy: Territory series encourages artists, writers, and activists to continue this thinking within urban terrain, building on the past and on the exhibition Territory held at Artspeak, Presentation House Gallery, and public sites around the city in the summer of 2006.

  • Esoterica: A Three Day Publications Event

    January 27–January 29, 2005

    Book Sale – Thursday, January 27, Friday, January 28 and Saturday January 29, 12-5pm

    All Artspeak publications will be 20% off the listed price and 40% off for gallery members. During these three days the gallery will be transformed into a space to sit quietly and sip coffee, read and look at pictures.

    Reading | Jeff Derksen – Friday, January 28, 8pm

    Vancouver poet and cultural critic reads new work

    Book Launch | Spilled – Saturday, January 29, 2pm

    Artists: Isabelle Hayeur, Luis Jacob, Kelly Mark, Scott Massey, Ana Rewakowicz, Corin Sworn and Kara Uzelman

    Authors: Colleen Brown and Philip Kevin Paul

    Designed by Jen Eby



  • Spilled

    Spilled front
    Spilled spine
    Spilled back

    Title: Spilled
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artists: Isabelle Hayeur, Luis Jacob, Kelly Mark, Scott Massey, Ana Rewakowicz, Corin Sworn, Kara Uzelman
    Writers: Colleen Brown, Philip Kevin Paul
    Editor: Artspeak
    Design: Jen Eby
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2004
    Pages: 38pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 15 colour images
    Dimensions: 16 x 21 x 1 cm
    Weight: 103 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-50-0
    Price: $5 CDN

    Spilled was published on the occasion of the exhibition series Spill. The series includes three exhibitions (Collapse: Scott Massey; Meniscus: Luis Jacob, Kelly Mark, Corin Sworn, Kara Uzelman; Paysages incertains: Isabelle Hayeur), an intervention (Travelling with My Inflatable Room: Ana Rewakowicz). The texts in Spilled are framed by two overarching propositions. The first is the understanding of spill as breached physical containment, and the second is the disclosure of information or emotion.

    In his essay, “The Sweetly Neglected,” Philip Kevin Paul approaches the split between man and nature from a non-European perspective, revealing boundaries that shift through cultural naming within his Saanich experience on Vancouver Island. Colleen Brown’s essay “Poring In, Pouring Over” considers the portals used by the viewer to find their way into the works in Spilled tackling the abstraction found between the slippery definition of binaries.

    Choose Shipping Option