Richard Henriquez: Fragmented Destinies

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mariam Nader for Canadian Art: History is comprised of fragmented narratives; and we trust, when we open a history textbook, that the footnotes and citations will not lead us astray in our search for the way things really happened. At Vancouver’s Winsor Gallery, however, Richard Henriquez is using fragmented narrative to guide his viewers into other considerations of history and narrative.

Born in Jamaica and based in Vancouver, Richard Henriquez is an architect and artist whose work bridges both fields. His work has been exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Venice Architecture Biennale, with a resounding theme being the assemblage of memory and history.

New Henriquez works on view at Winsor, such as The Trumpet and Stage Set for an as yet Unwritten Play, employ a variety of objects (and use wooden three-point tripods as stands, a move that he attributes to the support’s dovetailing aesthetic and technical appeal) to entice viewers to imagine these separate items as “understandable wholes.” Tower of Babel from 2012 is a backlit digital print that similarly meshes visual fragments into a concentrated, unified entity.

As Henriquez noted in a recent interview with the Georgia Straight, “fragmentation is our destiny”—and the reintegration of disparate memories and stories a necessary human task. That makes “Narrative Fragments” not only promising as a material display, but also as a quietly intellectual consideration of life’s challenges.