UNCOMFORTABLE: THE ART OF CHRISTOPHER COZIER (Richard Fung) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Christopher Cozier is an important, versatile and internationally renowned artist, but he's barely known in his native Trinidad, where pretty pictures of birds and beaches are considered gallery-worthy.
That's one of the ironies in Richard Fung's concise and insightful documentary about the artist. Born in 1962, a few years before Trinidad and Tobago's independence, Cozier grew up knowing there was a world beyond the island. Eventually, he studied in the U.S. before moving back home.
That dual perspective, combined with his complex ethnic background, informs the world of his paintings, drawings, installations and videos. His works illuminate everything from architectural patterns on neighbourhood fences to signs of encroaching globalization. (Ironically, McDonald's couldn't make it in Trinidad - a fact that makes Cozier smile.)
One of the most surprising sections of the film recounts an installation Cozier prepared for exhibit in Copenhagen that had to be completely reworked when it travelled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, because of societal differences.
Fung stays in the background, letting Cozier's work speak for itself. A glimpse of Cozier's family life subtly conveys the complicated negotiations of two working artist/parents.
This is a terrific introduction to Cozier's art, some of which appeared at Toronto's A Space several years ago. Too bad the pieces, as seen in the video, often lack titles or dates. These would have added a bit more perspective and context to the work of an artist who is all-too-sensitive about such things. (Innis Town Hall, January 25)