Canadian Art

Slideshow

Ken Lum: The Real Deal

An online supplement to the Spring 2012 issue of Canadian Art
Ken Lum <em>Entertainment for Surrey</em> 1978 Video still Collection Surrey Art Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund Ken Lum Entertainment for Surrey 1978 Video still Collection Surrey Art Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund

Ken Lum <em>Entertainment for Surrey</em> 1978 Video still Collection Surrey Art Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund

Through the course of Ken Lum’s now-iconic 1978 performance video Entertainment for Surrey, the artist stands on an embankment beside a suburban highway as cars speed past. It’s difficult to know exactly what these rush-hour commuters might have made of Lum's activity. As Lum tells it, there was non-stop car-horn honking until drivers got used to his presence and then mostly ignored him. (For the last day of his roadside vigil, he replaced himself with a cardboard cut-out.) Nonetheless, Lum’s strategy—wryly confronting the fast-lane status quo of modernity and identity from the margins—is one that has marked his work ever since.

In our spring issue feature “Road to Somewhere,” Vancouver writer Danielle Egan tracks the path of Lum’s work and ideas from his immigrant, working-class, East Vancouver roots to his international reputation as an uncompromising artist, writer, curator and thinker. Here, a selection of images follows that same route, from Entertainment for Surrey to Lum’s latest large-scale public installations in East Vancouver and Utrecht, and it includes a sneak peek at one of his newest works, The Path from Emptiness to Fulfillment, that will debut in Paris this April.

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Ken Lum Steve 1986 Collection Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund
Ken Lum <em>Steve</em> 1986 Collection Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund
Ken Lum Steve 1986 Collection Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund
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Ken Lum Hello. How Are You? 1994 Collection Annie Fong Art Foundation
Ken Lum <em>Hello. How Are You?</em> 1994 Collection Annie Fong Art Foundation
Ken Lum Hello. How Are You? 1994 Collection Annie Fong Art Foundation
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Ken Lum House of Realization 2007–11 Installation view Collection the artist / photo Rachel Topham
Ken Lum <em>House of Realization</em> 2007–11 Installation view Collection the artist / photo Rachel Topham
Ken Lum House of Realization 2007–11 Installation view Collection the artist / photo Rachel Topham
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Ken Lum House of Realization 2007–11 Installation view Collection the artist / photo Rachel Topham
Ken Lum <em>House of Realization</em> 2007–11 Installation view Collection the artist / photo Rachel Topham
Ken Lum House of Realization 2007–11 Installation view Collection the artist / photo Rachel Topham
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Ken Lum 117 Dwight Eisenhower Blvd 2009 Courtesy Lothar Albrecht Galerie, Frankfurt
Ken Lum <em>117 Dwight Eisenhower Blvd</em> 2009 Courtesy Lothar Albrecht Galerie, Frankfurt
Ken Lum 117 Dwight Eisenhower Blvd 2009 Courtesy Lothar Albrecht Galerie, Frankfurt
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Ken Lum from shangri-la to shangri-la 2010 Installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite Collection Municipality of North Vancouver and City of North Vancouver / photo Trevor Mills and Rachel Topham
Ken Lum <em>from shangri-la to shangri-la</em> 2010 Installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite Collection Municipality of North Vancouver and City of North Vancouver / photo Trevor Mills and Rachel Topham
Ken Lum from shangri-la to shangri-la 2010 Installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite Collection Municipality of North Vancouver and City of North Vancouver / photo Trevor Mills and Rachel Topham
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Ken Lum Monument for East Vancouver 2010 Installation view Collection City of Vancouver / photo Rachel Topham
Ken Lum <em>Monument for East Vancouver</em> 2010 Installation view Collection City of Vancouver / photo Rachel Topham
Ken Lum Monument for East Vancouver 2010 Installation view Collection City of Vancouver / photo Rachel Topham
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Ken Lum January 1, 1960 2011 Installation view Collection City of Utrecht The Netherlands
Ken Lum <em>January 1, 1960</em> 2011 Installation view Collection City of Utrecht The Netherlands
Ken Lum January 1, 1960 2011 Installation view Collection City of Utrecht The Netherlands
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A new work-in-progress titled The Path from Emptiness to Fulfillment in Ken Lum’s studio, Feb 2012
A new work-in-progress titled <em>The Path from Emptiness to Fulfillment</em> in Ken Lum’s studio, Feb 2012
A new work-in-progress titled The Path from Emptiness to Fulfillment in Ken Lum’s studio, Feb 2012
This article was first published online on February 29, 2012.

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