The Hockey Rink




2007_116

Graeme Patterson
The Hockey Rink, 2005Mixed media, DVD "Lafleche vs Woodrow 1972" (4:03 minutes loop : colour : sound)
231.0 x 131.5 x 266.5 cm
Purchased with financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts
and Louis Reznick, 2007
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The Hockey Rink is one components of Graeme Patterson’s multimedia installation Woodrow. This work, like the installation, celebrates the history of the small Saskatchewan town of the same name. The many places depicted in the installation are situated in the present as ghostly mediations on a declining community’s heyday - a time which coincides with the residency of Patterson’s grandparents.

Woodrow’s actual hockey rink still stands, but it is closed. The town once boasted its own hockey team and, as is the nature of boasts, the distance between reality and memory has created a myth centred around a local hockey game in 1972. The two teams of this game, the Lafleche Flyers and the Woodrow Hawks, are frozen in a moment that has come to represent all games, each player fixed to the ice, attached by cables to the slots that permit their movement. This is a rod hockey game, a child’s toy, transformed into an area where modern-day gladiators wait to be activated. The ‘jumbotron’ plays a film of the 1972 game, a compressed version of hockey à la George Roy Hill’s 1977 classic Slap Shot. The film makes the toy aspects of this work very clear, in that it is the only instance where the hand of the artist is visible (literally in this case, as the artist’s disembodied hand drops the pluck for the face-offs, and turns the knobs on the scoreboard, recording the goals for the visitors and for the home team). And, of course, in this, as in any “good ol’ hockey game” someone scores and the home team wins.


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