Sylvia Ziemann: Carnival at the end of the World

September 27 - October 26, 2014


The MacKenzie Art Gallery is pleased to partner with the University of Regina Master of Fine Arts program to host  student exhibitions. This fall, Sylvia Ziemann will exhibit a solo show, Carnival at the end of the World.

Contemporary popular culture imaginings of the future tend to be pessimistic. Scores of recent movies and novels feature dystopic tomorrows where technology threatens to overcome humanity. Other popular end-of-the-world scenarios include natural cataclysms, plagues, zombies, or our planet ruled by apes. Each narrative sends a warning about the need to rethink the present trajectory or buckle up for a bumpy ride.

Viewers of Carnival at the end of the World will reconsider the sustainability of our present consumerism. Optimism plays a role in this fantasy; might a world without a power grid, long distant rapid communication or travel, return us to our better natures? This installation suggests that smaller, simpler communities are more sustainable, and encourage happier, more meaningful lives.


Providing a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic future where mutants produce a simplified version of our civilization, this thought experiment imagines a society that is in constant play and flux. Notions of progress, surplus and any dominant narratives are banned as unsustainable. Similar to the paintings of Bosch and Breugal, Carnival at the end of the World is a morality tale, a hyperbolic representation of our lives, as they are or might be.

A partnership between the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina.

Image: Sylvia Ziemann, Card Players, 2014 (detail), video still from Carnival at the end of the World. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.