MONSTERS OF THE URBAN UNCONSCIOUS
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