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Brian Duggan, Everything can be done, in principle, 2012, timber, canvas, roller skates, 1890s Wyoming period costume, sound. Installation view.

Brian Duggan

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art

Brian Duggan, Everything can be done, in principle, 2012, timber, canvas, roller skates, 1890s Wyoming period costume, sound. Installation view.

Instead of a slick contemporary gallery, a high-beamed wooden barn; instead of twenty-first-century clothes, Wild West costume; and instead of solitary, contemplative observation, communal roller-skating. This was the mixed-up mise-en-scène proposed by Brian Duggan in Everything can be done, in principle, 2012, a participatory installation commissioned for the enormous main exhibition space at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art. Inserting a huge timber structure into this austere white box (part of a recently built venue that is therefore already a vast architectural relic of a more affluent era), Duggan reimagined the gallery as a strange, anachronistic skating rink: at first glance more like a corny country-and-western version of a 1980s roller disco than a space for exhibiting art.

But Duggan’s absurdly ambitious intervention had a more precise historical source, a scene from

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