See why Tobias Wong remains one of Canada's most brilliant and provocative designers

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See why Tobias Wong remains one of Canada's most brilliant and provocative designers
Transform a chair made by a famous designer into a lamp by putting fluorescent bulbs in, call it your own, release it one day before the chair’s North American debut, and you get everyone’s attention. This is a Lamp was the first very public act of appropriation that put Wong on the radar of the design and art world alike. The cast of reluctant collaborators in this project involved famed designer Philippe Starck and Italian furniture company, Kartell. Launch of This is a Lamp, 2000 at Fellissimo in New York City; Photo credit: Pablo Griff

VANCOUVER, BC.- The Museum of Vancouver is presenting All We Want Is More: The Tobias Wong Project, a new feature exhibition.

In the early 2000s, Tobias Wong (1974–2010) took the design world by storm. Born and raised in Vancouver, he was a brilliant and prolific artist, whose career was all too short. Defying easy categorization, his work was wide ranging, pushing and dissolving disciplinary boundaries between conceptual art, performance, fashion and product design. Wong’s international career took off and developed in New York City, where he resided until his untimely death in 2010.

All We Want Is More: The Tobias Wong Project is an invitation to revisit Wong’s artistic contribution with fresh eyes. Recent social, environmental and technological events have transformed the way we see the world and inevitably the way we see Tobias Wong’s work.

Wong was irreverent, witty and thought-provoking. He edited pieces by famous artists and designers, appropriated brand imagery and transformed everyday objects to give them new status and meaning. His work questioned notions of authorship, originality and the value we assign to objects in our lives.

This exhibition presents over 60 projects by Wong, most of them from the Tobias Wong Estate collection. Curated by MOV curator of contemporary culture, Viviane Gosselin, the exhibition relies on research that involved conducting interviews with design collaborators around the world to draw a rich portrait of the artist’s remarkable contribution. All We Want Is More spans three galleries. Designed by Josh Doherty, the exhibition’s look and feel conveys Wong’s love for modernist and Dadaist aesthetics. Two hands-on stations invite visitors to make, like Wong, text-based art.

Emulating the kind of posh retail showroom where so much of Wong’s work was staged, the main gallery displays some of Wong’s better-known pieces. Works like Ballistic Rose, a brooch made from bulletproof nylon, and his Indulgences series “for people who have everything,” continue to resonate with contemporary viewers, whether by satirizing our ongoing obsession with luxury and branding or our capacity to normalize violence. “Although his work could be described as conceptual, he had this uncanny ability to make it relatable, cheeky and profound all at the same time,” explains Gosselin.

All We Want Is More offers Vancouverites an opportunity to see this collection before it leaves town. MOV is acquiring a few pieces but also facilitating conversations between the Tobias Wong Estate and other museums in Canada and abroad interested in acquiring his work. A critical mass of Wong’s work in public collections will ensure continued public access to and reinterpretation of his remarkable legacy.

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