It’s design week in Toronto. Tonight, I just got back from the Gladstone Hotel’s ‘alternative design event,’ Come up to my Room, or CUTMR.
Founded by the fabulous Pamila Matharu and the Gladstone’s Christina Zeidler, CUTMR works because the rooms are small, and the artist/designers can literally take their idea and run with it. It’s refreshing to see such unfettered creativity.
Co-curator Jeremy Vandermeij being interviewed by Artsync TV. All images: VoCA
Last year was exceptional – I blogged about that HERE and this year was almost as good. The first installation I saw, and the best by far – to my eye, anyway – was by Dennis Lin. Last year, I had visited Lin’s studio and seen all the delicate metal mobiles and translucent wooden lighting fixtures for which he is known.
For the Gladstone, Lin, inspired by having recently moved his studio, arranged a large number of studio works inside a cube made up of steel shelving units, wrapping the entire thing in cellophane. It was marvelous, like an enormous box of jewels. It was like the opposite of minimalism…a sort of self-contained maximalism. Brilliant.
The next best thing was a tie between two far more subtle works. The first, by Chinese artist Xiaojing Yan, was a series of hanging silk ‘drums’, each side painted with a portrait of an immigrant, one side showing their face before leaving their home country, and the other showing their face after having arrived. The idea was that their identity was trapped inside the two painted images.
The second, by Amanda McCavour was an installation of hanging furniture and home accessories made of thread, which McCavour makes by sewing into a fabric that dissolves in water. The result appears almost impossibly delicate.
The final room that really impressed me was the ‘Shrine Dedicated to the Memory of Demolished Barns and Fallen Trees‘ by furniture designers Lubo Brezina and Scott Eunson. I think it’s about time someone made a shrine to Ontario’s barns, of which fewer and fewer are seen across the landscape.
Other installations worthy of mention:
Treehugger, by Map Collective (Andrew Chau and Patricia Joong), which aims to “challenge the negative perceptions associated with the big city.” They also covered the bar area with unusual huggable tree forms.