Arvo Leo “Fish Plane, Heart Clock” at La Loge, Brussels
A fish has flown all the way from Canada to Belgium.
The fish is a fish but it is also a plane.
Because the fish is also a plane it was able to fly all the way from Canada to Belgium.
La Loge is proud to present an exhibition of Fish Plane, Heart Clock by Arvo Leo along with a selection of original drawings by Pudlo Pudlat.
Fish Plane, Heart Clock is a feature-length film by Arvo Leo that celebrates and responds to the work of the Inuit hunter-turned-artist Pudlo Pudlat (1916–1992). For many years Pudlo lived a traditional semi-nomadic life on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Eventually, in his forties, after a hunting injury, he moved to the settlement of Kinngait (Cape Dorset) where he began making drawings with materials provided by the newly established Kinngait Studios, the first Inuit printmaking program. Over the next thirty years Pudlo would produce over 4000 drawings and paintings with graphite, felt markers, coloured pencils, and acrylics; many of which have never been exhibited.
Pudlo was part of the generation of Inuit in the late 1950s who were given pencils and paper and encouraged to “draw their thoughts”. What is exemplary about Pudlo is that he was one of the first artists to move away from making only images of traditional life—images that were often preferred by the art market further South. Upon the white page hunters, igloos, seals and walruses are often found mingling in the company of such modern conveniences like airplanes, telephone poles, automobiles and clocks; things that were swiftly becoming commonplace in the North. Pudlo, with his imaginative and playful touch, would sometimes even morph these subjects into each other, creating intriguing and surreal hybrids that embodied the radical cultural transformations occurring around him.
Twenty-two years after Pudlo’s death, Arvo Leo travelled to Kinngait to spend the spring living where Pudlo made his work. In Fish Plane, Heart Clock many images of Pudlo’s drawings and paintings are collaged with imagery that Arvo created during his time there. Arvo portrays the daily life of a small town in seasonal transition while also subtly evoking the surreal and enigmatic energy that was intrinsic to Pudlo’s art.
Fish Plane, Heart Clock is foremost a lyrical celebration of Pudlo’s work but it is also a realistic and magical realistic document of contemporary life in Kinngait. What is shown to us is not entirely real, nor is it entirely fictional. It is not an artist documentary, nor is it an ethnographic film, nor is it a structuralist film; it exists somewhere in between these genres, subverting and collaging some of their respective tropes and methods in the process. Fish Plane, Heart Clock is an exquisite corpse whose body parts were discovered from research, fieldwork and improvisation and sewn together with montage.
Circulating within the blood of this cobbled together being are little cartoon blood cells with quiet voices who do not want to speak directly about, but would rather speak nearby, who want to bloodshot and hallucinate the ethnographic eye, who compel and caution this corpse in attempting to speak-for and re-present the reality of others, who question appropriation and intention when addressing another artist’s work, who circulate in order to cherish indigeneity, who question the borders of the moving image and the still image, who appreciate the human/animal relationship of a hunter who retired his harpoon for a pen.
Many images by Pudlo are featured in Fish Plane, Heart Clock, yet because these images are part of an ephemeral time-based medium the length we are able to engage with each work is contingent upon the film’s duration. By showing a series of original drawings and paintings at La Loge alongside the film we are excited to provide an alternative durational and material opportunity to engage with Pudlo’s works.
until 31 October 2015
Arvo Leo “Fish Plane, Heart Clock” at La Loge, Brussels, 2015
Drawings by Pudlo Pudlat (1966-76)
Courtesy: the artists; Dorset Fine Arts; La Loge, Brussels. Photo:Sidney Léa Le Bour.