SITE SPECIFIC ART

The beach, image 1

The beach, image 2

Just past the Humber Bridge, Toronto.

Back in Uni some of my friends occupied this decadent space above a jewellery store on the corner of the intersecting main streets of the city. The apartment was two floors and had an outdoor space on the roof that you could crawl out to during parties to get some air, a cigarette and some quiet space to intellectualize and philosophize or just shoot the shit with anyone partially engaging.

It was every creative person’s dream space – wrapped on two sides with lovely old windows that were framed with the original decorative molding. The main space was two stories high and perfect for any reason to celebrate that you could think of. It became the alternative place to be when the local clubs were offering nothing but a pissed crowd stumbling about to Top 40.

At the time I was taking architecture courses and playing around with the psychology of spaces, as well as taking courses on the anthropology of art. I was deep into consideration as to why gallery spaces do or don’t work; why performances on a stage sometimes can bridge the intimacy gap and why sometimes the audience sits in an uncomfortable isolation. I had this grand plan to use that space as a place to experiment with an audience’s interaction with art and comfort zones during performances.

I sketched it all out – had ideas for the installation, the djs, the musicians and who I could get for dance performances – but somewhere the planning fell apart probably due to the fact I was taking a full course load, auditing another course, working and trying to launch an environmentally friendly cleaning business. Something had to give. Shame it was this gig as it was going to be fantastic!

But since that time, the concepts I was turning over in my brain still come up to dialogue in my mind when I come across something that takes art / performance out of a conventional space.

The end of May and the start of July gave me two such occasions to revisit this train of thought. The first occasion was South African Pieter Kruger’s installation for the CONTACT Festival located at Spadina Ave & Front St, Toronto (I will be posting pictures soon) and the second was what I came across yesterday on my ‘get-out-and-enjoy-the-weather-walk” on Canada Day. I have been down to this same area just past the Humber Bridge and have seen stone sculptures there before. The first one I witnessed back in October was more profound than the yesterday’s, as the balancing rocks were so questionable that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like I had walked into another dimension that flipped the earth’s laws of gravity upside down.

The display I saw yesterday was beautiful though and intriguing for entirely different reasons. The collection of sculptures were set up in such a way as to push and pull with the environment both contrasting and integrating with the surrounding space.

The materials they were made of, the rocks and the driftwood from the beach, were antithetical to the man-made materials transported, for the purpose of constructing the structures enclosing the horizon, just beyond.

This ‘installation’ was well done as a response to what was surrounding it and with the lapping of the water against the rocks on the shore line it made for a thoughtful experience.

The beach, image 3

The beach, image 4

The beach, image 5

The beach, image 6

The beach, image 7

The beach, image 8

The beach, image 9

For more site specific art  and Pieter Hugo’s CONTACT Festival 2011 Installation click here.

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  1. [...] The artist(s?) of these amazing sculptures has been back to that same spot and you can see some more images from another time when I was blazing a trail to bliss and found it here. [...]