Art Gallery of Alberta

New AGA exhibition UP NORTH

Features multi-media works by internationally renowned contemporary artists.

For Immediate Release
September 9, 2011

EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) will launch its fall season with the opening of UP NORTH, running September 10, 2011 – January 8, 2012. Media are invited to preview the exhibition on Friday, September 9 from 1-2 pm.

UP NORTH features work by four artists from three circumpolar countries: Kevin Schmidt (Canada), Jacob Dahl Jürgensen / Simon Dybbroe Møller (Denmark) and Ragnar Kjartansson (Iceland). The exhibition, curated by Catherine Crowston, AGA Deputy Director / Chief Curator, brings together the traditions of landscape representation with new forms, of performance and sculpture.

UP NORTH,” says AGA Deputy Director / Chief Curator Catherine Crowston “presents us with new ways of understanding the idea of landscape, not merely as an image that is constructed by artists, but as an active site of artistic invention.”

Based in Vancouver, Kevin Schmidt uses the vast, empty landscape of Canada’s north to examine ideas of adventure, expedition and exploration. For A Sign in the Northwest Passage, Schmidt hand-routered an excerpt from the Book of Revelations into a large cedar sign which he installed in the ice of the Northwest Passage upon flotation devices. An apocalyptic warning to all passersby the sign was left to float in the arctic waters. This summer Schmidt returned to the north in an attempt to recover the sign and created new content for the work which will be shown for the first time in this exhibition. Wild Signals, an additional work by Schmidt, is situated in the seemingly untouched northern landscape, this time with a performance of light, sound and dry ice. Mirroring the colourful display of the Aurora Borealis, Wild Signals is a performance in which the northern landscape is the only audience.

Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s work The End is a folk-country music video with the artist and a collaborator performing in the snowy Rocky Mountains. Created during an artist’s residency at The Banff Centre, The End evokes nostalgia for the wild, romantic landscapes depicted in 19th century art. Using the landscape as his stage, Kjartansson questions the references and myths that frame popular ideas of the North.

In Flotsam and Jetsam, Danish artists Jacob Dahl Jürgensen and Simon Dybbroe Møller construct makeshift musical instruments from debris washed ashore on a deserted island. They utilize these instruments in a musical performance that is played back in the gallery space, with the instruments also present as sculptures.

On Saturday, November 26 at 2 pm, Kevin Schmidt will give a Special Artist Lecture at the AGA. Schmidt will talk about his travels to the Arctic both to install and attempt to recover the work: A Sign in the Northwest Passage.

The AGA’s popular late night art party series will draw inspiration from UP NORTH with Refinery: Explorers of the North and the Monsters Who Killed Them on Saturday, November 19 from 9 pm-2 am. Tickets will go on sale to AGA Members on October 17 and to the general public on October 31. Details about the event and the Turn it Up North Refinery Contest – an opportunity to win two tickets to the party – will be released in the coming weeks.

September 10, 2011-January 8, 2012

Media Previews will take place on Friday, September 9 from 1-2 pm
The AGA’s Deputy Director/Chief Curator Catherine Crowston and artists Kevin Schmidt and
Jacob Dahl Jürgensen will be available for interviews.
Please RSVP to Alison Bulloch, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
| 780.392.2468

Please see the attached Backgrounder for a full list of programs.

Visitor Information

The AGA is located at 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton. Hours of operation are: 11 am to 7 pm on Tuesday to Friday; 11 am to 5 pm on weekends; closed Monday. Admission is: $12.50 for adults; $8.50 for students and seniors; $26.50 for families (two adults and up to four minors); free for children six years old and under and free for AGA Members. AGA Memberships cost $55 for adults; $85 for families; $35 for students and seniors and $70 for senior couples.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of more than 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta and the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture. The AGA recently underwent a major re-building project. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the 85,000 sq foot (7,900 sq metres) new AGA opened to the public on January 31, 2010. The new Gallery features three floors of premiere exhibition space; the City of Edmonton Terrace; the Singhmar Centre for Art Education; Zinc Restaurant; Shop AGA; Ledcor Theatre and an Art Rental and Sales Gallery.


For images and additional information, please contact:

Alison Bulloch, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
T: 780.392.2468 E:

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the support of its Members, donors, sponsors and government. The AGA is grateful for the generous support of the many public and private donors and sponsors who have made the AGA’s New Vision possible, as well as the ongoing support of the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts and our Members.