Cedric Bomford, Potemkin Village Embassy (detail), installation view at Canadian Museum of Making. Ghost Lake, AB, 2018 - 2019. Courtesy the artist.
Cedric Bomford: Mountain Embassy
September 7 - December 7, 2019
SFU Gallery and offsite at 8955 University High Street, Burnaby
From surveillance towers to floating structures, Cedric Bomford's large-scale work examines our constructed environment through installation and photography. Mountain Embassy is a new work sited on Burnaby mountain that contemplates an embassy's role as an official mission abroad and its physical presence as a building on the ground in a foreign country. Bomford's temporary structure is the fourth in a series of architectural interventions that considers the power dynamics of a distant authority through international diplomacy, conventions of identity and ambassadorial relations.
Mountain Embassy operates as façade, parasite and camouflage that uses a condominium sales centre as its substructure, sharing its language of an imagined reality. Previous works in the series were shown at Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California, 2017; Nuit Blanche, Toronto, 2017 (with Verena Kaminiarz); and Canadian Museum of Making, Carraig Ridge, Alberta, 2018. Like national embassies, these chameleon-like structures pop up in different locations, transient, opportunistic and political in the machinations of a world that is increasingly insecure, faced with economic uncertainty, social unrest, and environmental catastrophe.
Mountain Embassy utilizes a photogrammetric process to create images in virtual space, like Google Earth, of SFU's brutalist campus architecture. Interested in how a process of virtual construction can enter the 'real' world in the form of a building, his work effectively tests the "science" of photogrammetry to reveal mistakes, incompletions and clippings. By digitally suturing these partial images to encase the sales centre at an architectural scale, Mountain Embassy offers parallels to the tenuous nature of embassies and constructions of nationhood or citizenship.
University campuses are sites of encounter with abstract constructions of identity, such as belonging and exclusion - a comparable embassy of sorts that gets tested when students leave campus and interact with the politics of the host nation. SFU Gallery will direct viewers to Bomford’s structure just off campus in "UniverCity", as well as host a reading room related to the project. This project follows SFU Gallery's recent strategy to operate as a research centre for art and ideas by activating the gallery as a site for collective understanding and responsibility towards the land we occupy in all its complexities.
Bomford is a Victoria based artist with a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and an MFA from the Malmö Art Academy Lund University. His work has been exhibited at Esker Foundation, Calgary; Vancouver Art Gallery; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; AxeNeo7, Gatineau; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; and his public projects include Deadhead (2014) and Substation Pavilion (2015). He is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, University of Victoria. He often collaborates with Nathan and Jim Bomford.
Curated by Melanie O'Brian
Thank you to Intergulf Development Group