2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art: Living Utopia and Disaster

October 27, 2007 – January 6, 2008

Curated by Catherine Crowston and Sylvie Gilbert

Kay Burns, "Converse" (2006). Interactive audio installation. Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre. Photography by Don Lee.

For the 6th incarnation of the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, curators Catherine Crowston and Sylvie Gilbert have undertaken an investigation of the dual themes of Utopia and Disaster within the context of Alberta and its relation to the world environment.

The works in the exhibition raise questions about the paradoxical nature of our living experiences. They comment on the various ambiguous, competing and sometimes oppositional communities that we traverse and exist within. When wildly optimistic, we can become completely rapt in the possibility of a longer, fuller and more affluent existence while being concurrently disquieted by events, economics and beliefs that threaten to dramatically endanger such fulfillment. The works in the exhibition act as discrete reminders that hopes are often matched with impeding catastrophe, actions with adversity, and that Utopia is mostly built on disaster. As economic achievements are boasted and celebrated, misfortunes that have made such wealth possible are minimized or even dismissed. The exhibition does not subscribe to one world view or the other, but rather presents them as almost inevitable, yet paradoxical, partners.

Co-produced by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Walter Phillips Gallery, the Biennial also presents a survey exhibition of the work of Alex Janvier at the Art Gallery of Calgary.


Sarah Adams-Bacon 
Robin Arseneault  
Richard Boulet  
Jennifer Bowes  
Ken Buera  
Kay Burns  
Chris Flodberg  
Julian Forrest 
Paul Freeman 
Anu Guha-Thakurta 
Terrance Houle/Jarusha Brown
Geoffrey Hunter  
David Janzen  
Jonathan Kaiser  
Mary Kavanagh 
Linh Ly  
Annie Martin 
Mark Mullin  
Paul Robert 
Laurel Smith
Kristy Trinier