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Kim Adams, 2014 Canada Council laureate – a film by Ross Turnbull

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Published on Mar 4, 2014

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In this video Kim Adams discusses his artistic practice.

Kim Adams is a 2014 winner of the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

The Canada Council for the Arts is a federal, arm's-length Crown corporation created by an Act of Parliament in 1957 (Canada Council for the Arts Act) "to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts."

Directed by Ross Turnbull
Presentation of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Independent Media Arts Alliance

For more information, visit: https://ggavma.canadacouncil.ca
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Kim Adams -- Transcript

I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and lived there until I was 7, then we moved to Australia and lived there until I was 15. Art was the only thing that was constant for me, so it was the art interest, it was the only class I could take where I went quiet and concentrated.

No make-up? Does it look like Canada?

I don't know if it's Canadian because I don't really think of it in that way, but it's been made here. I know how it feels when it's not being shown here, being shown somewhere else. There's a language that goes through it that can connect because it's quite social.

When we learned art history it was through somebody who knew art today, and that was Mowry Baden. We started seeing things that were more real: the perception of the colours, or the scale and the size, what happens between it and you and that space between. For me it was the street level when I was trying to pull that into the art, so what people were doing with cars... because there was still the making, or something's-broken-you-fix-it kind of culture And that kind of skill is what I tried to steal from. Finding things from a street level and bringing them into galleries.

And I remember when I did an earlier show in 1980, I was not allowed to drift off of the blueprint. From that point on I promised myself never to get myself stuck into a situation where I have to stick to the rule. And that's what a blueprint does. I'm not an architect, you know. I can make my pieces leak, I'm not going to get in trouble.

Around 1982, it sort of started gluing together. I was always doing miniatures, but I always kept that separate and then I was doing these big projects. In the studio I had in Toronto on Queen Street West, I was doing a big piece and a little piece. One day I was sitting there and thought: "It's the same thing except it's a miniature." The miniatures I was using and the activity of building were the same thing. So that's when I tried the idea of gluing these things together and not to treat them as things that are apart. And the Bruegel-Bosch is one of those examples.

For me it's about making something and re-inventing it... re-working it.

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