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Contemporary Art Gallery

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

Admission always free
8 Feb 91until2 Mar 91

Randall Anderson


555 Hamilton St

A darkened entrance to a gallery space, with a small bright sign glowing above a round buzzer button. The sign reads "to activate the exhibition for 3 minutes, push button."

Randall Anderson is a Vancouver artist who has been performing his art in Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand for the past year. He is a graduate of Concordia University. This is his second solo show at the Contemporary Art Gallery—over one hundred of his “signature paintings'' were exhibited in October 1986.

Hero is a minimal work. It uses the empty gallery space to stand for the “idea” of contemporary art practice. It is meant to provoke thought rather than provide you with any particular image. It depicts a process in a reductive form and suggests that that form may also apply to a broad range of cultural activities, with the most obvious reference being to performance based art forms such as dance and music. The doorbell buzzer stimulus provided by the viewer mirrors the reinforcement function of applause as well as the idea that contemporary artworks are for the public. It is an artwork that treats the gallery space somatically, as a “body,” and as a site for an aestheticized form of bio-feedback.

In Hero, although the artist has moved the “site of production'' from his studio to the gallery he has maintained the normal, and perhaps mysterious, separation and distance from the viewer. The studio has been replaced by a chamber that is at once an exercise room and a prison. It is as if the artist is suggesting that the conventional studio shares these qualities with the artwork before you. But the chamber in this instance is not home to both the artist and the work, because the work of art itself has been expelled. It has been removed to a place that defies our efforts to locate it topographically.

The artist is living in the book-shaped chamber you see in the gallery for six hours a day. By pressing the buzzer at the gallery entrance you signal your presence to him. At that point he will pedal an Exercycle for three minutes, which in turn powers a single one hundred watt light bulb in the empty gallery. After three minutes the gallery returns to darkness.