Ken Lum, Walk Piece, 1978, still from a color video, 3 minutes 5 seconds.

Ken Lum

Vancouver Art Gallery

Ken Lum, Walk Piece, 1978, still from a color video, 3 minutes 5 seconds.

“It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” This methodological imperative, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, is strangely instructive in thinking through Ken Lum’s mid-career survey, currently on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Lum rose to prominence in the late 1980s, quickly becoming emblematic of an international critical discourse concerning the photographic and the postmodern. Yet any discussion of the Canadian artist’s work must also account for how it directly engaged arguments about representation specific to his immediate artistic-intellectual community. In the substantial catalogue accompanying this exhibition, essays by curator Grant Arnold, Okwui Enwezor, and Roland Schöny place Lum’s practice in relation to that of his Vancouver colleagues (Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace) while surveying the expansive field of critical engagement

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