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Contemporary Art Gallery

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

Admission always free
5 Jul 19until22 Sep 19

Maryam Jafri

Automatic Negative Thought

B.C. Binning and Alvin Balkind Galleries

A close up view of a sculpture forming a large-scale crossword puzzle. The dead squares of the crossword are filled with physical books affixed directly to the wooden surface.

Maryam Jafri Where We’re At (detail) 2017. Photo: SITE Photography

Automatic Negative Thought is the first major solo exhibition in Canada of works by Copenhagen and New York based artist Maryam Jafri. Jafri works across a breadth of media, including video, sculpture, performance and photography. Her practice draws from diverse traditions of literature, theatre, pop and conceptual art, often bringing together both found and original material. For the past fifteen years she has questioned the cultural and visual representations of history, politics and economics, interrogating the politics of food production and consumption, the highly-coded performance rituals of nascent nation-states, cultural memory and copyright law, as well as the impacts of graphic design, branding and display.

Across both gallery spaces, Automatic Negative Thought interrogates our contemporary culture’s fixation on “wellness” and self-care, suggesting the ways in which these trends are often manifested through consumerism and materialism, and entangled with underlying conditions of economic precariousness. Jafri uses strategies of appropriation and analysis to expose and dissect the systems that underpin our post-industrial, capital-focused society and implicate us in its maintenance.

Organized by Nigel Prince

Automatic Negative Thought is generously supported by the Danish Arts Foundation


Maryam Jafri’s work has been the focus of recent solo exhibitions at Taxispalais Kunstahalle Tirol in Innsbruck (2019); ICA Los Angeles (2019); Van Abbemuseum, Eindoven (2016); Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2016) and Kunsthalle Basel (2015) and included in the Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (2018); Sao Paulo Biennial (2016) and the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial (2015).