MON­STERS OF THE UR­BAN UN­CON­SCIOUS

Canadian Art - - Legacy - By Ju­lia Lum

Duane Lin­klater is bring­ing Toronto’s dis­carded gar­goyles to the Don River Val­ley —re­turn­ing them to the rich clay de­posits from which the city’s bricks were made

In his 1990 book Le Con­trat Na­turel, philoso­pher Michel Ser­res called for a new type of pol­i­tics in the face of cat­a­strophic en­vi­ron­men­tal change that has only es­ca­lated in our own time. Ser­res re­ferred not only to a reimag­in­ing of the po­lis, the hu­man-built city-state, but also the re­join­ing of the social and nat­u­ral worlds in con­tract: an ac­knowl­edg­ment of the forces that have bound us to the world and the world to us. A new pub­lic art­work by Duane Lin­klater op­er­ates on these scales, invit­ing us to de-nat­u­ral­ize and re-nat­u­ral­ize what cities are made of, and how they came into be­ing.

Lin­klater’s work com­prises sculp­tural copies of gar­goyles and grotesques, the guardians that grace Toronto’s his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture from the 19th and turn of the 20th cen­tury. These will be on dis­play in the Don River Val­ley Park, a hinge space con­nect­ing Toronto’s down­town core to its east end. The first of sev­eral planned works cu­rated by Kari Cwynar, these will be part of an art trail and re­vi­tal­iza­tion pro­gram or­ga­nized by non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Ev­er­green in part­ner­ship with the City of Toronto. In­tro­duc­ing frag­ments of his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture into the val­ley re­ori­ents us to the ma­te­rial ori­gins of Toronto—its “sub­strate,” as the artist calls it. The val­ley’s rich clay de­posits were once the source of bricks that laid the city’s foun­da­tions. Start­ing in May 2017, trail-go­ers will come upon Lin­klater’s frag­ments

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