Nandy Heule (SCIN student) reviews Luis Jacob: Questions about T.O.’s place and identity

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 11:30am

Luis Jacob art at Union Station: Questions about T.O.’s place and identity

Two main group shows associated with the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art may attract most visitors this fall, but a peripheral site at Union Station deserves attention for questioning T.O.’s identity as a Great Lakes city.

The stated theme for the Biennial --  the shoreline dilemma – paraphrases what scientists refer to as the coastline paradox. Coastlines are difficult to measure, shift over time, and are often deeply impacted by human activities.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, chief curator Candice Hopkins says, “Toronto, despite being a Great Lakes city, has its back to the water.”

In the exhibition The View from Here, Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob offers the viewer a collection of exquisite historical maps showing growing urban development along Lake Ontario starting in 1677. He pairs these maps with full colour photos of Toronto today.

The print Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto City Hall, 2017, features the multi-coloured TORONTO sign standing at the edge of the iconic cement pond in front of City Hall.

Now wait a minute? Since when is a square, cement pond part of the city’s narrative – the site where we invite tourists to take their selfies?

It’s more than symbolic that Jacob’s exhibition is located at Union Station. No longer does Toronto depend on our waterways or our location along the shores of Lake Ontario.

Has Toronto’s international identity and place become tied up with a square pond?

At Union Station, walking east through its Great Hall into a rather bleak hallway, a visitor reaches a handful of temporary “walls” framed together with 2x4 studs and stabilized by cement blocks. This does not a glorious exhibition space make. Yet, this is where Jacob staged a powerful exhibition about place and relationship.

Wandering between the wooden frames, the rare maps, each of them an exquisite piece of workmanship, are paired with colour photos featuring the city of Toronto today. (One may wonder, Where else can one display such beautiful artifacts at a train station without the goods being stolen?)

Starting with a document dated 1677, the collection of maps demonstrates centuries of impact on the shoreline, the land, and its peoples. These maps show large bodies of water – Lake Ontario, the harbour, the Don river, the other Great Lakes and rivers that flow into them. They are glorious in their detail and the stories they tell about this place we now call the GTA.

In preparing for his show Jacob says he visited Laura Ten Eyck who is a dealer of rare maps. In his recent piece in Canadian Art, Jacob says, “Maps are narratives. They function as ‘organs of reality’ to the extent that they inform the ways in which we perceive the places they envision. And photographs are narratives too.”

Jacob pairs a 1929 map of the City of Toronto entitled “Plan ‘A’: Proposed New and Improved Through Streets” with a dead-end alley in today’s Chinatown. An antique map of York Harbour is displayed with a 2017 photo of the Leslie Street Split.

The View from Here offers commuters and Torontonians alike an excellent excuse to skip out of work a bit early to visit an exhibition that asks some important questions about our identity as a Great Lakes city and our sense of place.

Exhibition information: 

Luis Jacob The View from Here

as part of Toronto Biennial of Art

Sept 21-Dec 1, 2019

(near) Oak Room at Union Station

65 Front St. W.

Toronto, ON M5J 1E6

Open daily 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.

Photo credit: Toronto Biennial of Art website

Sarah Tranum, "CleanCube Project" Poster
The Office of Research & Innovation is excited to launch of the fourth iteration of the "This is Research" campaign to raise awareness about research at OCAD University.
Rendering of black industrial structure against black background
The Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair and The Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers are excited to announce Andre Baynes as the 2020 Recipient of the Artist Project Career Launcher.
The OCAD U Print Shop will be closing at 6:00pm on Monday, January 27th due to illness. We apologize for any and all inconvenience.   
Photo of two large landscape collages with wood frame door in middle
The Gladstone Hotel and the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2020 Come Up To My Room Career Launcher, Maxwell Lander and Aaron Jones.
The OCAD University community is deeply saddened by the news of the Ukraine International Airlines plane crash that claimed the lives of 176 people near Tehran yesterday. 
DesignTO bus advertisement rendering.
This year, DesignTO partnered with OCAD University’s Design4 program to create look and feel of the festival’s 10th Anniversary.
OCAD University mourns death of Jeremy Vincent Urbina, student in the Faculty of Art
Abid Virani and Aliwar Pillai, co-founders, Fable Tech Labs (photo courtesy: Forbes)
OCAD U alumni, Alwar Pillai and Abid Virani, co-founders of Fable Tech Labs, were named in Forbes Magazine’s latest Top 30 under 30 list.
two hands creating a frame shape
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 11:30am

Luis Jacob art at Union Station: Questions about T.O.’s place and identity

Two main group shows associated with the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art may attract most visitors this fall, but a peripheral site at Union Station deserves attention for questioning T.O.’s identity as a Great Lakes city.

The stated theme for the Biennial --  the shoreline dilemma – paraphrases what scientists refer to as the coastline paradox. Coastlines are difficult to measure, shift over time, and are often deeply impacted by human activities.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, chief curator Candice Hopkins says, “Toronto, despite being a Great Lakes city, has its back to the water.”

In the exhibition The View from Here, Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob offers the viewer a collection of exquisite historical maps showing growing urban development along Lake Ontario starting in 1677. He pairs these maps with full colour photos of Toronto today.

The print Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto City Hall, 2017, features the multi-coloured TORONTO sign standing at the edge of the iconic cement pond in front of City Hall.

Now wait a minute? Since when is a square, cement pond part of the city’s narrative – the site where we invite tourists to take their selfies?

It’s more than symbolic that Jacob’s exhibition is located at Union Station. No longer does Toronto depend on our waterways or our location along the shores of Lake Ontario.

Has Toronto’s international identity and place become tied up with a square pond?

At Union Station, walking east through its Great Hall into a rather bleak hallway, a visitor reaches a handful of temporary “walls” framed together with 2x4 studs and stabilized by cement blocks. This does not a glorious exhibition space make. Yet, this is where Jacob staged a powerful exhibition about place and relationship.

Wandering between the wooden frames, the rare maps, each of them an exquisite piece of workmanship, are paired with colour photos featuring the city of Toronto today. (One may wonder, Where else can one display such beautiful artifacts at a train station without the goods being stolen?)

Starting with a document dated 1677, the collection of maps demonstrates centuries of impact on the shoreline, the land, and its peoples. These maps show large bodies of water – Lake Ontario, the harbour, the Don river, the other Great Lakes and rivers that flow into them. They are glorious in their detail and the stories they tell about this place we now call the GTA.

In preparing for his show Jacob says he visited Laura Ten Eyck who is a dealer of rare maps. In his recent piece in Canadian Art, Jacob says, “Maps are narratives. They function as ‘organs of reality’ to the extent that they inform the ways in which we perceive the places they envision. And photographs are narratives too.”

Jacob pairs a 1929 map of the City of Toronto entitled “Plan ‘A’: Proposed New and Improved Through Streets” with a dead-end alley in today’s Chinatown. An antique map of York Harbour is displayed with a 2017 photo of the Leslie Street Split.

The View from Here offers commuters and Torontonians alike an excellent excuse to skip out of work a bit early to visit an exhibition that asks some important questions about our identity as a Great Lakes city and our sense of place.

Exhibition information: 

Luis Jacob The View from Here

as part of Toronto Biennial of Art

Sept 21-Dec 1, 2019

(near) Oak Room at Union Station

65 Front St. W.

Toronto, ON M5J 1E6

Open daily 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.

Photo credit: Toronto Biennial of Art website