Althea Thauberger, Kandahar International Airport, 2009, digital c-print, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist.
Althea Thauberger, Pagal Pagal Pagal Pagal Filmy Dunya (production still), 2018, Digital film. Photo credit: Syed Danish Azam Althea Thauberger, Zivildienst ≠ Kunstprojekt (Social Service ≠ Art Project), Production Still, 2006. Courtesy the artist and John Connelly Presents, New YorkAlthea Thauberger, Althea, Lorraine, Index, Leaf, 2018, digital c-print, 60" x 62”. Courtesy Susan Hobbs Gallery

Althea Thauberger: The State of the Situation

Saturday, 9 November 2019 to Sunday, 27 September 2020
Althea Thauberger: The State of the Situation presents an expansive look at Althea Thauberger’s artistic practice. She was first shown at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 2004 as part of the second Sobey Art Award. From that exhibition, her work, not afraid to die was acquired for the Permanent Collection.
While she has gained international attention and praise, this is the first exhibition in Canada that presents an extended overview of her practice, and, as such, the first to allow visitors access to her collaborative artmaking practice over the course of a decade’s worth of work. The State of the Situation is part of a three-venue examination of her work, with exhibitions developed by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver.
The five works selected represent the breadth of her practice and underline her dual interests in examining the State, and its systems of representations, and in creating situational work that gives space to community. She builds her artworks in collaborative fashion. First establishing a link and trust within a specific community, then building the script, movements, and narrative in partnership with the community of collaborators. She feels this is an imperative part of her practice, allowing her to share the privilege she feels her position affords her. This may include mentorships and distribution of project resources.
In each of the five works of art we present the architecture of place and, in a couple of cases, the institution is critical to the framework of the piece. Expo 67, the Kandahar International Airport, and the Capri Cinema in Karachi each play a role in the specific works, and like that specific architecture, she creates a framework in each piece that reinforces that architecture. Thauberger’s examination and critique of these institutions affords our community reflection on the shifts and changes in power and structure in our surroundings.
The role of the arts as lens through which to view and question our specific place, as well as that of artist as critic and collaborator, is crucial in an increasingly global context. As the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia engages with its community, we look to the framework in Thauberger’s work to guide self reflection and outward inquiry.
Althea Thauberger is a thoughtful, challenging artist whose work examines and re-examines the ideas and use of archive and institution and asks questions of authorship and collaboration.