International artist Brian Jungen is enjoying immense success with his “found art” in galleries all over the world. His work ranges from stacks of white plastic chairs and wooden pallets, to domes structures made of green garbage cans.
Yet his most striking pieces are definitely his collection called Prototype for New Understanding, which are Nike brand shoes taken apart and reassembled to look like Aboriginal masks and animals. When I look at these “bird shoes” all that’s missing is a good squawk in my face.
A native of British Columbia, Jungen seems thoroughly in tune with the primitive need to create. Looking at his work, one is filled with the many questions modern art provokes: namely the “why?” The word “fetish” may come to mind, but after spending some time with his pieces, ideas about evolving and adapting begin to emerge.
Raw materials once belonging to the Earth, originally headed for rudimentary use, now sit proudly in art galleries all over the world.
Other interesting pieces include the giant fossils made of plastic chairs and the wooden structures displaying his architectural prowess. The stacked golf ball bags look like totem poles erected to the “gods of leisure.”
While more traditional artists might balk that anything goes in today’s art world, Jungen is enjoying immense success with his collection. Just look at his work and see if you can’t hear the past calling and living today.
By, Martha Raymond