Wachtel On The Arts - Stan Douglas

Stan Douglas. Photograph by Michael Courtney (Canadian Press)

Stan Douglas. Photograph by Michael Courtney (Canadian Press)

Listen

Stan Douglas is both a cutting-edge contemporary art star, and a neighbourhood historian of his home city. From his downtown Vancouver studio, he makes new works of photography and video that look like something out of the city archive. Eleanor Wachtel talks to Stan Douglas about his work, and his latest project Helen Lawrence, a theatre piece, created in collaboration with television writer Chris Haddock.


In Stan Douglas' work, Vancouver's past -- or his version of it -- comes uncannily back to life.
We see scenes of violence and protest, decaying neighbourhoods, the roads built, and even the roads not taken -- since he also recreates scenarios that might-have-been. The works push our theories of what an image is and what it means, engaging the viewer while also being intensely satisfying to look at.

The Toronto Star calls Stan Douglas "Canadian art's answer to Leonard Cohen,"dubbing him "a master of poignant memories and the sense of irretrievable loss that comes with change."

But nostalgia isn't what Douglas is after. It's the mix of critical and technical depth that makes him famous worldwide. More than 20 years ago, he broke out in Europe with his video work, Hors-Champs or out of field, inspired by Afro-American free jazz musicians in Paris. Shows in Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands and New York followed, and Douglas skyrocketed from there. His works are in permanent collections at Paris' Pompidou Centre, at New York's Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art, at London's Tate Modern, and of course, across Canada as well.

In 2012, Stan Douglas won the Infinity Award from New York's International Center of Photography, and last year he was awarded Canada's $50,000 Scotiabank Photography Award.


The Work of Stan Douglas

From the upcoming exhibit, the Scotiabank Photography Award: Stan Douglas. Organized by the Ryerson Image Centre, in partnership with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The exhibit runs May 1 - June 1.


1. Stan Douglas, Kung Fu Fighting, 1975, 2012, digital C-print mounted on Dibond. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York, London, and Victoria Miro, London.

wachtel-douglas-2012-Kung-F.jpg

2. Stan Douglas, Ballantyne Pier, 18 June 1935, 2008, digital C-print mounted on Dibond. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York, London, and Victoria Miro, London.

wachtel-douglas1935_Ballant.jpg

3. Stan Douglas, MacLeod's Books, Vancouver, 2006, chromogenic LightJet print mounted on Dibond. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York, London, and Victoria Miro, London.

wachtel-douglas-MacLeods-bo.jpg

4. Stan Douglas, Corrupt Files 2010_3024, 2013, colour inkjet print mounted on Dibond. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York, London, and Victoria Miro, London.

wachtel-douglas-corrupt-fil.jpg

5. Stan Douglas, Shoes, 1947, 2010, digital fiber print mounted on Dibond. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York, London, and Victoria Miro, London.


wachtel-douglas-Shoes.jpg

Stan Douglas will discuss his most recent work at the Ryerson Image Centre and the School of Image Arts on Wednesday, April 30, at 7:30 pm. Admission is FREE. No registration required. Please arrive early to ensure seating. Ryerson University, LIB-72, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto.

The RIC is also pleased to offer a pre-lecture exhibition preview of Scotiabank Photography Award: Stan Douglas from 3pm to 7pm. The exhibition opens officially on May 1 and runs until June 1, 2014.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.