Some time ago, I spent some time at AGO.
The Art Gallery of Ontario.
I think art galleries -especially the good ones- can be pretty hard to write about. There’s so many photos I want to share, but so many details I can’t remember. And a good part of it falls into the ‘you really had to be there’ category.
And of course, I didn’t get enough time to see even half of it properly.
But anyway, let’s try for a quick tour shall we?
Before we even dive in, we need to briefly talk about the architecture, which I’ll just summarize in two words.
My first stop was downstairs with the boats. Mostly because I wanted to go downstairs to the loos.
I didn’t stay long, because I’m not really a boat person. But if you love boats, but wish they were much tinnier, I guess this room is really for you:
I continued my tour on the ground floor which started with…. wait…..
is that a…….
Calder, my greatest Art Love.!!!
Is your Art Gallery even legit if you don’t have a Calder?
Almost definitely not.
The ground floor had a lot of arts that represented a range of cultures. Here are some of my favourites:
Iranian artist Sanaz Mazinani’s ‘Tokyo/Damascus’ that on closer inspection has Arab Spring and Occupy movement images:
Canadian Lotus Laurie Kang’s ‘Her Own Devices’ – chromographic prints of bags
Gauri Gill’s strange ‘acts of appearance’
A series of beautiful but also bloody prints from Robert Kautuk:
And a really incredible collection of plant/uterus prints that included the known abortive plant ‘Pride of Barbados’, Caesalpinia pulcherrima:
There was also a really incredible collection of art from indigenous artists:
Of course, there was also a range of ‘more classic’ stuff:
^ OH! Canada!
Further upstairs, things got more modern:
And they had a really really great photography section, which I sadly had to zoom through.
If you’re more of a sculpture person, the have quite a bit of Rodin, both big and small:
A whole room of Henry Moore:
Lots and LOTS of these little figureheads.
As well as some pretty darn cool religious stuff:
^ the level of detail in these blew me away.
For me, my favorites were these tiny (Native Canadian) sculptures:
In case you like pretty glassware (hi mum!), they have that too, at multiple scales.
One of the coolest things there was definitely this:
Looks like nothing huh?
Well that’s because all you’re seeing is some speakers and my head sillhouetted.
The art, or – perhaps-more-accurately ‘experience’ wasn’t very visual.
But what it lacked in looks, it made up for in sound, feel, and smell.
The piece is immersive, called Hrafntinna (Obsidian), and made by Jonsi, aka the singer of Sigur Ros.
If you know Sigur Ros, that will give you a base feeling for what was going on- a lot of their very specific style of music, but also with deeper sounds that sounded like a mountain rumbling.
Which was exactly the point: the art was meant to reimagine being inside the volcano during the Fagradalsfjall eruption in Iceland. As well as a light that occasionally leapt into life, and the incredible layered sound, there was also a plinth that rumbled out vibrations, and a smokey smell that filled the air!
Sigur Ros will unfortunately forever in my mind be linked with one of my sister’s ex boyfriends. But that still didn’t stop this from just being friggin’ coool.
I didn’t read the full description before going in, so had a delightful moment of ‘wait, do I actually SMELL the volcano’ as well as the realisation that the ground I was sitting on was actually vibrating.
Another cool thing was this:
Another Yayoi Kusama installation.
I actually failed to see this when I visited AGO that first day, due to a misunderstanding in which I thought it was a past exhibit. By the time I got to the queue outside the mirror ball room, the spots had filled up. Kicking myself for not buying an annual pass (it’s only 5 CAD more than the daily pass, and you will not see everything in one day, so just do it!!), I bought a whole new AGO ticket the next weekend- mostly because I wanted to go into this.
They only let you in for 60 seconds, so I went early in the morning (I think it only opens at 11 on Sundays, so not even that early), and then booked repeated spots to see it a few times. Which I also recommend (in my case noone else was around, so I wasn’t stealing those spots from others)
In case you’re playing ‘Art Symbolism’ from home, the balls represent the moon, sunshine and peace, as well as our own reflection and the union of man and nature.
But you probably already sensed all of those things.
Of course, after all the AGO art, I rewarded myself (for being so Cultured), with Dumplings.
Which is why, by the time I got to Yonge-Dundas Square (Toronto’s answer to Times Square), my lipstick looked like this.
I took a selfie, took a photo with my camera, and then got screamed at by a lady who thought I was talking a photo of her.
She then got screamed at by some random kids, and screamed back, and so-on.
So I quietly scuttled away. Back to the suburbs.
Sunday 30th May