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Fiona Ackerman

Heterotopia (2012)

Ground Floor, located between the BMO Financial Group Auditorium and the main elevators.

Fiona Ackerman

acrylic and oil on canvas
98 ½" x 98 ½"

Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, BC
(1 March - 1 April 2012)

Heterotopia is painted in a way that presents convincing evidence of a tangible environment with a row of chairs and practical window treatments, yet upon further examination it becomes clear that the space is dotted with unfeasible, fantastical details. The artist explains that this particular body of work presents an investigation into the idea of place intended to parallel Michel Foucault's idea of "heterotopia".

Exhibition Information

In 2012, Ackerman spent 6 months working from a studio in Berlin and produced the work for the exhibition titled Heterotopia, published as a full colour catalogue.

"Making these paintings, I was surprised by the seemingly endless ways heterotopic spaces can be played through their narratives. But as quickly as the paper trail led me to Foucault, Foucault brings me right back into the studio, into every studio, into the heterotopia that is the physical studio." - Fiona Ackerman, regarding her Heterotopiaworks, February 2012

"There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places... which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias" - Michel Foucault Of Other Spaces (1967) Heterotopias (translated from French by Jay Miskowiec)

In studio spaces, we create a place outside the every day, a counter-site to use Foucault's terms, in which we can reflect our experience of being, and turn it upside-down. After all, it is with the mind that we see rather than with the eye. Is a pipe ever a pipe?
- Fiona Ackerman


Born in 1978, Fiona Ackerman grew up in Montreal. She studied art at Concordia University and graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design with a BFA in 2002. She received an honourable mention for the Kingston Prize for Canadian Portraiture in 2009, and was included in Carte Blanche 2: Painting, a survey and showcase of the current state of painting in Canada (published by the Magenta Foundation, Fall 2008). She has gallery representation in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and by the Soho Myriad in Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California. Fiona had a solo show at Galerie Steinrötter in Berlin, Germany in 2012 as well as a show at the White Brush Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany in March 2015. She lives in Vancouver, BC. Fiona was longlisted for the 2015 Sobey Art Award.

While Fiona's work is diverse in style, it is deeply rooted in the practice of painting. Whether working on a wild abstract piece or a delicately rendered portrait, her approach is at once playful and meticulous. Through her painting, Fiona is continually reinventing the way she represents her world, her environment and the places of her imagination.

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