The title of the exhibition, The Backlot, makes reference to the false façades typically found on the lots at major Hollywood studios. Consisting of two or three walls and sometimes a roof, the façades on the backlot are essentially shells of what is imagined to exist inside—they provide the viewer with minimum visual information and little more. Though it does not actually have a true backlot of its own, Vancouver can be understood as having many of the same qualities of the traditional backlot. Creating illusion through the concealing and revealing of selected elements of a location is central to the film-making process, and in the many films that Vancouver has appeared as a backdrop, it is rarely represented as itself, but rather, is used almost exclusively as a stand-in for any other city.
The artwork in this exhibition considers the ways in which the Vancouver film industry disrupts and interrupts space within the city and aims to examine how the film industry’s dependence on the fictional construction of places and locations is embedded in Vancouver’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of itself. Through video, film, photography and installation, eight artists who have at some point lived in Vancouver explore how the city is marketed and sold as a series of locations and services, how it is presented as fictitious or generic, and how this contributes to the absence of a sense of place in what is one of the most filmed cities in the world.
This project is curated by Sophie Brodovitch, a candidate to the Masters Degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies at The University of British Columbia.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives, the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, the Faculty of Arts and the Museum of Anthropology at The University of British Columbia.