RODNEY GRAHAM Vexation Island

03. March 2013 to 02. June 2013

The Canadian concept artist Rodney Graham (b. 1949) works in a wide range of media such as sculpture, painting, photography, film, installation and music. Graham‘s work is rife with allusions and references to greats of literature, philosophy, the visual arts and pop culture whose myths and works he subjects to ironic, yet sympathising appropriation and re-consideration. The repetition of ideas, compositions and imagery is an aesthetic principle of central importance to Graham’s work.

Rodney Graham gained international recognition for his costume drama Vexation Island, which he conceived in 1997 for the Canadian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In this film, the artist himself plays a pirate who is stranded on a tropical island à la Robinson Crusoe. Vexation Island is a piece of slapstick comedy, showing in a continuous loop the neurotic repetitive actions of the hero. The pirate awakens on the tropic island only to be promptly knocked out again by a falling coconut after having successfully shaken it out of a palm tree. Regaining consciousness after a while, he compulsively returns to the palm tree and events run their familiar course. There is no escape from Vexation Island.