Last week Ryan Gosling wore a tshirt of Macaulay Culkin wearing a tshirt of Ryan Gosling wearing a tshirt of Macaulay Culkin. I know! Last week the family and I went to see the Graeme Patterson show Secret Citadel at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. There was no Gosling. There was no Culkin. But there was a room full of wonderfully smart circular referencing.
Graeme Patterson’s Secret Citadel is a one room story of two childhood friends told through many multimedia installations. A cougar and a bison stand-in as ‘the friends’ and the story they tell is deeply rooted, complex, and full of wonderful details. It is those details that captivated my eight year old daughter. This narrative world of miniatures blew her mind, especially when I pointed out all the circular referencing.
For me, Secret Citadel was like picking a movie from the library shelves without reading the synopsis or knowing the director but remembering some people saying it was great. After a few minutes, there is the realization that this experience is special. (A review in Canadian Art makes a comparison to a Wes Anderson film.) After peering into the worlds of Camp Wakonda and The Mountain, I knew that I was in for a treat. I walked through the entire show and then walked through a second time. It was that special.