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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street

Vancouver, Canada
Admission always free

Today's hours
12 pm - 6 pm
8 Mar 88until2 Apr 88

Deborah Koenker

Learning From Salmon

555 Hamilton St

A closeup of an artwork in a gallery. The work is a large metal net suspended from the ceiling, with a row of small grey, white, and brown rocks resting in its middle.

Deborah Koenker’s sight-related sculptural installation, Learning From Salmon was inspired by the writings of Japanese macrobioticist Herman Aihara. Aihara speaks of the single-minded purpose of the salmon, exerting a mysterious molecular memory to return to its birthplace to spawn and die. Aihara reflects upon the difference between the life cycles of the salmon and humans: when humans are retiring from living activity, a salmon takes on its greatest challenge.

Koenker’s installation evokes rather than illustrates these ideas. Learning From Salmon continues Koenker’s interest in sight-related sculpture, the kinesthetic involvement of the viewer and the idea of transition as expressed in nature. Sculptural elements found in previous works, such as the ramp, bridge and screen, also reappear. Koenker’s new works leads the viewer through a mesh labyrinth, over wooden ramps and stairs to a space containing two and three-dimensional objects suggested of a bridge, net, platforms and water. Black and white photography, glass, paper, rubber, chain link, and wood are some of the materials the artist uses in this metaphorical recreation of the salmon’s journey.