Trevor Smith on Brian Jungen: Transcript

When I reached out to Brian Jungen to invite him to participate in PlayTime, his response was to say he’d never really thought of his work having that much to do with play, but I’m happy he decided to trust me on that.

Jungen’s works in this exhibition start with articles of clothing that are directly associated with play—Nike sneakers and professional football uniforms—but at every turn he transforms their function and meaning.

Football uniforms symbolize team affiliation and competition, yet Jungen transforms them into blankets that suggest warmth and intimacy.

Nike sneakers become abstracted faces and masks. The feet have become the head.

You’ve probably already noticed that many of the artists in this exhibition have transformed the function of off-the-shelf objects that are ostensibly made for a singular purpose. You can still recognize the object, but the surprise is how meaningful they become in their new guise.

I think these seemingly absurd actions symbolize how the world can be transformed by the power of our imagination.

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