In the summer of 2014, artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla made a research trip to Alberta to visit the Burgess Shale and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology to explore the region’s prehistoric past. The Art Gallery of Alberta opens the resulting exhibition, Allora & Calzadilla: Echo to Artifact on last June 3.
It features film, sculpture, sound pieces and performances, and new work based on the artists’ research into western Canada’s prehistoric past. The works in the exhibition consider the nature of sound, music and the voice as a way to animate both natural forms and man-made artifacts and include the remains of dinosaurs, a piece of Hadean rock and the oldest musical instrument ever discovered.
A main feature of this exhibition is the sculptural installation, Intervals, composed of fragments of dinosaur bones arranged on top of transparent acrylic lecterns, offering a fractured reading of natural history that is potent, yet incomplete. These will be installed with Lifespan, a live vocal performance centered on a piece of the Earth’s mantle from the Acasta River Gneiss (NWT) and estimated to be over four billion years old. These pieces are the result of the artists’ research trip to Alberta in the summer of 2014.
The exhibition will also feature three films: Apotomē (2013), 3 (2013) and Raptor’s Rapture (2012), all of which stem from the artists’ research into specific historical artifacts and their musical affinities. The Great Silence (2014), a three-channel video installation, focuses on the world’s largest radio telescope and the last members of an endangered species of parrots that live nearby.
Allora & Calzadilla: Echo to Artifact is curated by Catherine Crowston, organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and presented with the support of Enbridge and the assistance of the United States Consulate General Calgary.