Art Gallery of Alberta


Brian Jungen, Carapace, 2009-2011. Courtesy of the Artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo: M.N. Hutchinson

Brian Jungen, Cetology (detail), 2002. Plastic chairs. 161.54 x 1260.40 x 168.66 cm. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Purchased with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program and the Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund (VAG 2003.8 a-z). Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

January 29-May 8, 2011

This major new exhibition features three sculptural installations by internationally renowned Canadian artist Brian Jungen. Winner of the inaugural Sobey Art Award (2002) and the 2010 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, Jungen is best known for his transformative re-workings of everyday manufactured goods into compelling and often paradoxical works, rich with cultural and social meaning.

Two works, Shapeshifter (2000) and Cetology (2002), have been created of white plastic lawn chairs that were cut, deconstructed and re-assembled. They hang, in their new forms, suspended in the gallery space, referencing the traditions of artifact display typical of the natural history museum.

The third work, Carapace, was first created in 2009 for an exhibition at the FRAC des Pays de la Loire (France) and completely reconfigured for an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.) later that year. Throughout the month of January, Jungen is working on site at the AGA to develop a third, new, unique configuration for this immense work. Inspired by the geometries of the geodesic dome and the turtle shell, Carapace unites Jungen’s interest in modernist architecture with his ongoing engagement with animal imagery.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Video interview

Stay tuned for an exclusive video interview with Brian Jungen and AGA Deputy Director / Chief Curator Catherine Crowston.

Artist Bio

Brian Jungen is a Canadian artist currently based in Vancouver. Jungen was born in Fort St. John, B.C., and graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1992.

Brian Jungen has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, and his work has been included in many publications and museum collections. In 2006, the Vancouver Art Gallery organized a major survey exhibition of Jungen’s work which toured to the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York) and Musée d’art Contemporain (Montreal). Additional solo exhibitions have been organized by the Tate Modern (London), Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2007) and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2007). Jungen;s work has alse been featured in the Sydney Biennale of Contemporary Art, Australia (2008), Lyon Biennial, France (2007) and Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2004). Jungen is the first living Native American artist to exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., with the exhibition Strange Comfort (that was on display from October 16, 2009 – August 8, 2010).

In 2002, Brian Jungen received the inaugural Sobey Art Award, and was awarded the Iskowitz Prize for Visual Arts by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2010.


Edmonton Journal – Trash bins are building blocks for turtle shell sculpture

The National Post – Questions & Artists: Brian Jungen

SEE Magazine – Canadian art and Carapace sunset

Vue Weekly – Mass production made unique

Articles, interviews & more

Text: Money Changes Everything by Paul Chaat Smith >

Interview: CBC’s Carol Off speaks with Brian Jungen >

Website: Strange Comfort at the National Museum of the American Indian >

Interview: Brian Jungen speaks with Jessica Morgan, Curator, Contemporary Art, Tate Modern >

Brian Jungen at the Catriona Jeffries Gallery >

Related programming

The Brian Jungen Lecture

Paul Chaat Smith
Wednesday, February 23, 7 pm
$15 / $10 AGA Members
Purchase tickets online

More information >


Saturday, March 5, 9 pm-2 am
$25 / $20 AGA Members

More information >

Art of the Everyday

Art class for kids (6-8 year olds)
March 12-April 16

Saturdays, 12:30-2 pm
$80 / $72 AGA Members
Instructor: Alie Service

More information >


Sunday, March 20, noon-4 pm
Art activities for all ages
Free with Gallery Admission

More information >

AGA Book Club

Thursday, April 7, 6 pm
Education Studio Space
Free; registration required

More information >

Reel Injun

Friday, April 29, 7 pm
Ledcor Theatre
Free with Gallery Admission

A film by Neil Diamond.

More information >

Rethinking Abstraction Lecture

Steven Loft
Sunday, May 1, 3 pm
$15 / $10 AGA Members
Purchase tickets online

More information >