Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
The multimedia artworks of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller emphasize aural and visual experiences that transport the viewer to other realms of consciousness. Their work is highly scripted, meticulously detailed, and often cinematic in scope, breaking down distinctions between fiction and everyday reality. Through various levels of engagement, the viewer becomes a participant, either witnessing a phenomenon or becoming immersed in a scenario.
Janet Cardiff began collaborating with fellow Canadian artist and partner George Bures Miller in 1995. When Cardiff and Miller represented Canada at the 49th Venice Biennale with The Paradise Institute (2001), they won both La Biennale di Venezia Special Award and the Benesse Prize, which recognizes artists who “break new artistic ground with an experimental and pioneering spirit.” They are now among the foremost artists of their generation, and their work has been shown around the world.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Vancouver Art Gallery, Lost in the Memory Palace is a selected survey that takes as its focus Cardiff and Miller’s work from the mid-1990s to today. Spanning a period from key early pieces such as Dark Pool (1995) and The Muriel Lake Incident (1999) to recent works including Killing Machine (2007) and Experiment in F# Minor (2013), the exhibition consists of a series of discrete immersive environments.
These installations, all of which have a strong architectural character, are imaginary spaces where time slows down and is altered, allowing fictional and historical narratives to blend and merge with the viewer’s own experience and memory. As environments that viewers understand to be art yet with which they willingly engage both physically and psychically, Cardiff and Miller’s works encourage shifts in consciousness and create uniquely compelling possible worlds.
Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Lead support for the San Diego presentation has been generously provided by Drs. Stacy and Paul Jacobs. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.