Skip navigation

Year of Gif

Paul Wong, Year of Gif (2013), video installation. Courtesy of the artist, photographed by Scott Massey.

January 23 to May 26, 2013

Pixelated colours projected on a wall over 30 metres wide create the shimmering backdrop for a spectrum of GIFs in Paul Wong’s video work Year of Gif at the UrbanScreen.

GIFs – a small sized, easy to share image file, standing for Graphics Interchange Format – animate images the artist created documenting what he sees around him. His collection of over 300 smartphone GIFs made over the year of 2012 were featured in this artwork. Scattered across the UrbanScreen’s colourful façade, these fast paced, continually changing GIFs flicker like rectangular digital flipbooks.

Year of Gif is also a social network project, with even more of the artist's prolific GIF production available on Tumblr. New GIFs were posted on Year of Gif and Paul Wong Projects Tumblr pages throughout the exhibition.

Paul Wong brings his relationship with the camera, and his practice developed over a period of 40 years, to his GIF art. Year of Gif energetically moves through themes of technology, architecture, nature, family and friends, and self-portraits. At one moment the viewer may have simultaneously seen GIFs of tube TVs, portapaks, smartphone screen gabs, and colour bars beside up-close flowers, clouds from an airplane, art in exhibition spaces, dancing friends, and even the artist in the process of 'giffing' a GIF.


Learn more about Year of Gif in our Surrey Art Gallery Presents publication, featuring an essay by Vancouver-based writer and curator Joni Low.

About Paul Wong

Governor General award winner Paul Wong is an artist and curator, and is recognized for pioneering early video art in Canada, founding several artist-run groups, leading public arts policy, and organizing events, conferences, and public interventions since the 1970s.

With a career spanning four decades, he has been instrumental in Canadian contemporary art and the larger art ecology. For more information, visit Paul Wong's website.


Artist Talk with Paul Wong

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Held at the Surrey Art Gallery
Free event with refreshments

Paul Wong's talk Now + Then (Mobile Media: Video Portapak to Smart Phone) was presented as part of the Gallery's Transpacific Transect Speaker Series, in partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University Fine Arts.

The opening reception for Year of Gif followed the talk.

Meet the Artist, View the Artwork

Saturday, April 27, 2013
Held at UrbanScreen.
Year of Gif invitation poster

Top image: Paul Wong, Year of Gif (2013), video installation. Courtesy of the artist, photographed by Scott Massey.