Keith Langergraber   Theatre of the Exploding Sun

June 27, 2014 - September 7, 2014

June 27 to September 7, 2014
Opening Reception: June 27 at 5 PM
Reception sponsored by Davidson & Williams LLP

Fan fiction has proven itself a growing phenomenon in recent years.  It pertains to stories written by enthusiasts who adopt the characters and settings created by an original author, typically without authorization.  Keith Langergraber's current practice playfully riffs on the oeuvre through his sculptures, photographs, drawings and a recently completed trilogy of films, which chronicles the remarkable journey of Eton Corrasable (played by the artist) and his efforts to save the world after inadvertently causing a rupture in the space/time continuum.  The works are amusing, faux-naif fan films that allow the artist to insert himself in a number of histories and traditions including appropriation and conceptual art, parody, and homage.  It is there the artist makes his art, acting out tales of epic adventures in a universe where Robert Smithson and Battlestar Gallactica collide.

Langergraber's first film, The Theatre of the Exploding Sun, introduces Corrasable making his own fan film at the Britannia Beach site, along the Pacific coast north of Vancouver.  He then travels to a site in the desert-like landscape near Kamloops, BC, known as the Eye of Jupiter, an opening into a grotto within a natural rock formation.  Once inside Eton is transported to Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake in Utah. 

The second film, called You Can't Go Home Again, shifts its narrative style to sequences created in animation.  Eton reads about the real-life biology of Donald Crowhurst and his failed and fatal 1968 attempt to sail around the world in a small boat.  Eton feels that a similar fate has befallen him: that he has become unhinged from time.

In Langergraber's third film, Eton Corrasable must repair the rupture that has occurred in the space/time continuum.  Titled The Glass Island, this film explores Dr. Who fandom, and Robert Smithson's never realized Island of Broken Glass project.

Travelling to the Yukon, Cayman Islands, Mono Lake, Pavilion Lake, Miami Islet and more, Langergraber's interest in landscape, land art, travelogues and road trips is apparent.  The allure, rigor and satisfaction of pilgrimages to film locations from Star Trek to X-Files is here expanded to include infamous sites such as Spiral Jetty, an artwork deliberately isolated and slowly degrading, now threatened by oil development on the one hand and tourism on the other.  Langergraber coyly teases out these issues and more, prompting questions about the lifespan of art and ideas, about entropy and time - and faced with a certain sense of futility, casts the artist as our hero.

Keith Langergraber is a mid-career artist living and working in Vancouver.  He received his BFA from the University of Victoria and his MFA from the University of British Columbia.  He has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows in galleries in Canada, the United States, and Asia since 1995.  He has received many grants and awards for his work including having been nominated for the Sobey Award in 2009.  He teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Keith Langergraber Theatre of the Exploding Sun is organized and circulated by the Kelowna Art Gallery in partnership with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.  Funding assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the City of Lethbridge, and the City of Kelowna.

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