Skip to content
Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
4 Nov 99until27 Jan 00

Ed Pien

Beyond Here

555 Hamilton St

Detail of an artwork by Ed Pien. Two mythic figures, half humans and half undefinable animals, are drawin on paper. Red and black inks were used to draw these figures.

Ed Pien lives and works in Toronto and in recent years has been gaining recognition for his large-scale works that extend traditional notions about drawing. He achieves this by developing gallery installations that retain the intimacy of the drawing process. For Beyond Here, Pien is presenting a large installation approximately seventy five feet in length and consisting of ink on layers of Chinese paper and Japanese silk tissue. The translucent quality of the paper allows the drawings that lie beneath the surface to read as shadows, which intermingle with the more legible images on the surface. The contrast in scale between the expanse of paper, the large drawings, the small drawings and the vibrantly coloured tunnels creates a dynamic relationship between the viewer and the work. One can perceive the piece as one entity or as a series of individual drawings.

In his work, Pien explores the concepts of fear and vulnerability through referencing both historical and contemporary events as well as combining Eastern and Western mythologies. In Beyond Here his drawings depict strange, hybridized creatures that are engaged in an imaginary journey that reads from left to right across the gallery walls. While not a formal narrative, the figures suggest a dream-like transformation from a state of conflict to one of liberation and self empowerment.

Pien's work is both seductive and unsettling. While the paper offers an impression of softness and warmth, it is extremely fragile. The figures project sensuality in the way they are rendered, but are ambiguous in their interpretation.


Ed Pien has recently exhibited at the Drawing Centre in New York and the Biennale de Montréal.


The artist wishes to acknowledge and thank the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the past support of the BC Arts Council. He would also like to thank Amanda Aronczyk for the soundtrack, the staff at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Brandon Thiessen for his assistance with installing the work, and to Hadley Howes, Maxwell Stephens and Sam Shem for their generous help with the installation. As always, thanks to Johannes Zits.

Publications & Editions