Art Gallery of Alberta

Hannah Doerksen: A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves
December 3, 2016-February 20, 2017

image credits [click to view]

Hannah Doerksen, A Story, 2016. Digital collage. Courtesy the artist

Tied up with ghosts and time travellers, angels and aliens, A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves, endeavors to call forth the grim and alluring presence of abandoned spaces: a shopping mall, a deserted theatre or a foreclosed hotel.

Using diverse processes, varying levels of expertise and duplicitous materials, Doerken’s installation contains an assembly of seductive objects and evocative images. The found and hand-made elements comprising the work are as varied as the references that inform it:

Life-sized faux-marble statues cheekily imitate Neo-classical works of religious allegory, casting shade towards prescribed archetypes of morality.

Bouquets of flowers, meticulously constructed using wire, paper and tape, sprout from a curious assortment of vases. Attentively arranged, the flowers belong to no one but stand as everlasting memorials to anticipated utterances left un-articulated.

A naive film on an endless loop reveals banal and intimate moments from the artist’s life. Playing on a chunky television placed before a circular mirror, the film, like Narcissus, becomes stuck in time, watching itself without recognition, enamored with its own reflection.

Employing both the mythic and metaphoric, the exhibition takes cues from popular culture, philosophy, anthropology, art history, film, speculative science.,

In a doomed pursuit of transcendence, Doerksen complicates her references and resources with the dysfunctional neuroticism of a conspiracy theorist.

A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves is shame and vanity: it’s watching a movie you’ve seen before but hoping this time the characters will not make the same mistake.

About the Artist

Hannah Doerksen is a Calgary based visual artist who received a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2012. During her studies, Doerksen spent a year abroad at the New York Studio Residency Program in Brooklyn, NY and the California College of Art in San Francisco.


Since graduating, Doerksen has exhibited in Brazil, United Kingdom, USA and throughout Canada. Recently, Doerksen has developed installations for The Esker Foundation’s Project Space, the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta and The Walter Phillips Gallery.

Artistic Practice

Doerksen combines collage, sound, light, kinetic devices and re-appropriated objects in installations that aim to create a framework for an experience. Taking as an assumption that wanting provides a richer emotion than having, her work is an investigation of longing, contradiction and a cultural condition of loneliness.

Hannah Doerksen: A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves is curated by Kristy Trinier.

The RBC New Works Gallery features new artworks by Alberta artists. Initiated in 1998 and named the RBC New Works Gallery in 2008, this gallery space continues the Art Gallery of Alberta’s tradition of supporting Alberta artists. Presented with the support of the RBC Emerging Artists Project.