Click HERE for my article on the sculptors for Azure’s DesignLines magazine. They’ve just reworked the language of the traditional children’s jungle gym for their new city commission at Lee Centre Park in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. Their design-y pieces reference Modernism using such unusual materials as Ikea furniture and bicycle tire.
Christian Giroux and Daniel Young, Fullerene, 2003. Image: aceart.org
Click HERE for the artists website.
CDGY are represented in Toronto by Diaz Contemporary – click HERE.
VoCA sat down with Christian and Dan to talk about their work:
VoCA: How would you describe your artistic practice? You have made many sculptures, but also a film and a comic-book inspired print.
CG: We are primarily sculptors.,,our collaboration is born of shared sculptural interests. Our concern is still sculpture, but we’re not confining ourselves to making objects. It’s a hard question. Have we taken a sculptural approach to film? Yes. It’s a typology of comparison between the vocabulary of building construction and the sense of a moment of life in the city. Not just form but the social parameters that shape that form…Also in the history of sculpture…we research how we go about making work. It doesn’t always come naturally. It’s a way of thinking about forms.
DY: We’re interested in the fabrication process..the fabricators – we represent their realm, the industrial base. As you get to know a tool, it guides your process. No one masters anything anymore, it’s all super specialized.
VoCA: You use Ikea furniture and components in your work. Why?
It’s generic, cheap, universal. Ikea represents modernity, it has achieved a universal recognizability. From an elitist point of view it’s base – but it embodies the dream of modernism. It’s compatible with the kind of form that we work with. We wanted to make subjective values – and Ikea complimented this idea.
VoCA: Is the meaning behind your sculptures deliberately enigmatic? Or do they represent something in particular?
We use prototyping means. For the Space Objects series, we were evoking a history that’s not readily accessible to many people. The objects are infused with the zeitgeist. Technological and aesthetic choices were made, and we stripped them down to compare between them.
VoCA: How do you come up with the titles and what relationship do they bear to the work?
Our first body of work – these pieces were geometric. Titles were meant to be evocative and to refer to the history of the piece. But not always. For the Ikea pieces, we allowed one characteristic to guide the titles. Sometimes you want to direct the focus away…as in the Ikea works. It’s important that as austere as the work is, that there is a point of entry.
VoCA: What are your thoughts on Toronto’s suburbs: Wastelands or lands of opportunity?
DY: I did my undergrad degree in urban geography. The multicultural spread of the suburbs…Markham (a Toronto suburb) is like China with the Pacific Mall and yet 5 minutes later you’re in a rural community. The suburbs are so dynamic! And yet we don’t have easy access to these interesting communities. The best cuisine is in the suburbs, too. But, of course there are many dead spots in the suburbs, in Scarborough…
VoCA: Tell me about Reticulated Gambol, your public sculpture in Lee Centre Park. What does the title mean?
CG: It’s a pretty straightforward title, I mean “Reticulated” refers to the means by which any form can be divided into a grid, and “Gambol” means to play.
VoCA: How did you come to this idea of using the park furniture elements to form your work? It’s like a puzzle, you are expanding the language. Describe how you came to this result through the process.
We were thinking of objects in space and bodies in space. How do bodies engage with each other? The playground equipment was a found language…we reorganized it according to a dffferent logic.
There is other playground equipment throughout the park. We inverted the rules of play equipment, we made it look like a machine. We clarified the structure, made it cohenerent. There is spatial efficiency, it’s highly programmed.
VoCA: Have you made public art works before? What was your experience of having to satisfy community needs with a public art work?
CG: There was a little friction..with the city. There was an overhaul of the park design at one point, but we had to stay true to our original idea, which was to make a play structure that would interact with the park…
DY: The most vocal voices at the community meeting were mothers. They wanted the park to be primarily for children. I spent a few years growing up in Scarborough. The question for us was how to make public art in this particular climate? There are 3600 condo units bordering the park. The city definitely wanted something that looked like public art. The Art and Landscape project was designed to stop the awkwardness of the decorative object in the landscape. Is it going to work? Yes, I think that collaboration is a good idea.
CG: It is liberating to be faced with constraints. There were restrictive CSA guidelines that govern playgrounds.
VoCA: Your film is a self-evident compilation of Every Building, or Site, that a Building Permit was issued for a New Building in 2006. How come you decided to make this film? Why was it important to you?
The film kind of takes a West coast, Ed Ruscha form. The question was how to represent the community ? The architecture of the suburbs? It was going to be a digital slide show, but it was too ugly. We wanted a way of representing the suburbs, of isolating the aesthetic. In a way, it was a challenge to photographers. We wanted to look past the downtown, to give an objective representation of Toronto.
VoCA: In what ways does your film relate to your sculptural work?
It’s in the production of space – in the object’s production. The qualities of space, of social space. The film: buidings as objects, variations on boxes. There are things that differentiate themselves. At one point in the film, a hindu temple appears, white and delicately carved, among all the industrial buildings. But we give it the same amount of time as any other building.
**Every Building, Or Site, that a Building Permit has been Issued for a New Building in Toronto in 2006, showing in Toronto at the Cinematheque Ontario, Monday, October 27th, with Search Light Spotlight by Adrian Blackwell, conversation afterwards with Marie-Paul Macdonald and Michael Snow
Click HERE for info on the screening.