Cabins and Canoes: The Unreasonable Silence of the World

Peter Doig Cabins and Canoes: The Unreasonable Silence of the World

Texts by Jens Faurschou, Francis Outred, Anna Campbell, and Zeng Fanzhi
Edited by Kristian Eley, Olivia Leahy, Francis Outred, and Cecilia Pedersen

This book was published by Faurschou on the occasion of the exhibition Peter Doig, Cabins and Canoes: The Unreasonable Silence of the World, the first solo exhibition in China dedicated to the esteemed contemporary painter.

Curated by Francis Outred, Cabins and Canoes: The Unreasonable Silence of the World was a tightly-curated selection of the painter’s signature motifs: cabins and canoes. The exhibition featured some of Doig’s most celebrated paintings, including Swamped (1990), The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (1991), and Daytime Astronomy (1997-8).

Financial Times critic, Jackie Wullschlager, wrote: “The most beautiful volume on a living artist to come my way in years, this catalogue to a current Beijing exhibition, presenting Doig to new audiences, delves into his life and sources, especially his own archive of reproductions (Hopper, Munch, Monet). An essay by painter Zeng Fanzhi offers intriguing context.” (June 23, 2017)

“Man stands face to face with the irrational”, wrote Albert Camus. “He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”

Doig’s disjointed past lies at the heart of his work. It finds its keenest expression in two persistent strands of imagery: the cabins and canoes. Together, like recurring reveries, they chart the wanderings of his psyche. The canoe drifts silently between tundra and tropics. The cabin lies dormant in dense pine-scented thickets, veiled by blizzards and branches. Like talismans, they quiver beneath shimmering membranes of colour, or lie submerged within tangled tendrils of paint. Their forms emerge from abstract swamps of pigment, only to dissolve again in the blink of an eye. Suspended within lonely backwaters and ravines, they are dreamlike projections of foreign lands: of places half-forgotten and re-imagined from afar.