Rodney Graham was born in Abbotsford, a small town in British Columbia, Canada in 1949. In 1964 moved to Vancouver with his family, where he continues to live and work. From 1968 to 1971 he studied Art History and Anthropology, and also English and French literature. The keys to understanding his early works can be found in his friendship with the Vancouver circle – which included figures such as Ken Lum, Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace – and his interest in literature. Graham uses texts, books and references from Western culture (Freud, Poe, Melville, etc.) to reflect on the foundations of the knowledge that underlies the way we perceive the world. His works make reference to the philosophical and cultural systems that made the Enlightenment and Modernity possible. They are objectual sculptures with photographs, film, video and music, which are based on cultural appropriation or what he prefers to call “indexation”.
Rodney Graham’s works can be found in the public collections of major galleries including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Vancouver Art Gallery.