Critics’ Picks

Let us, then, be up and doing; With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing; Learn to labor and to wait, 2008. Installation view.


Samuel Roy-Bois

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
555 Nelson Street
June 13–August 24

Samuel Roy-Bois’s new sculptural installation provokes laughter. I stumbled across it—literally: I tripped on the raised, carpeted floor he had installed for the work, which presents itself as a second skin, as it were, for the gallery space. One follows the institutional gray carpeting into a small room, roughed in with framing and cutaway drywall. Inside is a pointy cardboard construction, its seams highlighted by black duct tape, connected to the ceiling with string. The many planes of the cardboard construction are numbered, in thick marker, as if the rough interior of this provisional room might map onto the rough exterior of the sculpture. On one side, you can peer into construction; nested there like a jewel of meaning is a Plexiglas diamond approximately two feet across—the Hope Diamond on steroids. The work is one part Thomas Hirschhorn, another part Jessica Stockholder (albeit without her colorful oomph). The meaning of this post-DIY work is nothing; or, rather, it’s the way we navigate this antithesis of both the white cube and the black box, ducking our heads, tripping over matter.