This photograph shows a bed with a pile of blankets, a cast figure of a dog and an army helmet. At the foot of the bed are shelves stocked with non-perishable items. The walls are lined with fiberglass insulation.

Liz Magor

(b. Winnipeg 1947)


Messenger (detail)


Wood, plaster, textile, found objects

305 x 305 x 427 cm

Gift of the artist, 2003

Vancouver Art Gallery, VAG 2003.11 a-f

© Liz Magor. Photo: Vancouver Art Gallery, Trevor Mills

Messenger is a simple one-room cabin. Inside, a hodgepodge of non-perishable foodstuffs, ammunition and other items related to survival or war hint at impending or past disaster. Messenger brings to mind a trapper’s or game warden’s cabin, a hermit’s haven and a cabinet of curiosities all at once. The fact that it is devoid of human presence reinforces the uncertain relationship to time and place. As the title implies, it is up to the seemingly mundane objects to tell the work’s story. 

The practice of the Manitoba artist Liz Magor revolves mainly around sculpture and installation. Magor is interested in material culture as a constituent part of identity. In her works, everyday objects are presented as the reflection of individual and collective heritage. Using a hyperrealist casting technique, she reproduces artifacts in order to question the notions of authenticity and truth. In exploring the line between real and fake, she addresses the reciprocity that binds humans and the world of objects and, at the same time, raises concerns about social issues such as overconsumption.


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