Bill Vazan. Walking into the Vanishing Point – Windsor
2008.06.28 - 08.31
Walking into the Vanishing Point
(en anglais seulement)
JAMES PATTEN, CHIEF CURATOR
With Walking Into the Vanishing Point, the AGW continues its investigation into conceptual art and photography that began two years ago with the exhibition Passing Through : Iain Baxter Photographs 1958 to 1983, which is currently touring across Canada. Since the late 1960s, Bill Vazan has traveled by car, bus, subway and on foot in Montreal and Toronto. The annotated photographs and maps of these ambulatory performances became the starting point for more ambitious projects dealing with lines and distance.
In true conceptual art fashion, Vazan eschewed the conventions of ‘good’ photography, opting instead for a more arbitrary and systematic approach. Photos were taking at regular intervals (at every intersection, for example) and informally (without regard for lighting, framing, etc.). Drawing attention to the act of making the photograph rather than its content, Vazan goal was to provide raw evidence of his transitory journeys. These “itineraries” as he called them, collapse seeing and recording into one seamless activity.Vazan then expanded this concept. With World Line (1969–1971), and other related works, he put black tape on gallery floors in Canada and abroad to mark specific distances on a global scale, documenting the entire process as he moved from place to place. These virtual lines are no less real than other commonly agreed upon markers, such as international borders or shipping channels. With this project, Vazan demonstrates the abstract nature of such delineations, which in our era of global communications and travel, have become even more arbitrary and complex. From cell phone domains to international air travel, imaginary and ephemeral lines are drawn and redrawn around the globe constantly. Lines that connect and divide us, whether within a territory or an international communications system, are a dominant element in Bill Vazan’s work. That Vazan began exploring this terrain forty years ago is remarkable and makes this timely exhibition that much more interesting.