Friday, February 11, 2011

Randall Anderson Q&A: The Art of Travel

Montreal artist Randall Anderson comes from a family of long-haul truckers. And while he's made work about travel for years, it's only recently that he realized its connection to his childhood years. This realization comes to the fore in his latest work, a trio of trailer-based sculptures that spend most of their time at the Toronto Sculpture Garden but get taken out for a drive once a month as part of the work. (Anderson also documented the sculptures' trip from Toronto to Montreal, and considers that part of the work too--a video from same is embedded above.)

Today, the National Post published my Q&A with Anderson. Here's an excerpt:

Q What travel-related artworks did you do previously?

A I was travelling to do performances but within each piece there was also movement. I did several pieces in Japan, New Zealand and Australia that involved an object being moved through a city. The first thing I ever produced as an undergraduate also involved movement. I was studying in Montreal and was disillusioned with schools and art institutions. So I did a drawing of a drain cover and drove from Halifax to Vancouver, pinning it on the front of all these art institutions like the AGO and the National Gallery. It was called Creative Drain. It expressed what I thought, but it involved movement. The history of Canadian conceptual art relates, too. In a way, this kind of art comes out of the spaces we inhabit as Canadians, because we're so far apart. In the late 1960s, for instance, Bill Vazan did photo pieces where he drove around the country.

Q Besides national trends, though, your artwork has a lot of family resonance, right?

A It does. And this is the first time I ever let that information out. I see now, looking back, that I had to separate myself from how I grew up in order to be who I am. Otherwise, I would have stayed a mechanic. Coming from that culture of mobile-home parks, the idea of going to university was kind of unheard of. We were in Alberta, B.C....basically following jobs. They have this show on television now-- Ice Truckers. My dad was an ice trucker in the early '60s, but it wasn't anything they'd make TV about back then! There was a point when I built racecars, and I guess all that was touchy for me as the role of male politics changed. It's only in the last couple years that my past has come back into view.

To find out more, including a related project Anderson is doing for Montreal's Nuit Blanche on February 26, read on here. You can also see his work (mostly) at the Toronto Sculpture Garden to April 15.

1 comment:

canvas artwork said...

this is quite excting, my dad knows a Randall Anderson from there, not sure if its the same guy though