Here’s what the Gladstone Hotel looks like right now
Come Up To My Room isn’t your typical art show. For one weekend, an army of artists, designers and architects take over every corner of the Gladstone Hotel with zany alternative art. They sport red pins and walk around the exhibit, inviting patrons to ask, “So, what’s this all about?” You may need the help: the show—which is on display until Sunday, February 22—includes psychogeographic renderings of Toronto, a post-apocalyptic skateboard park, a mechanical garden with Little Shop of Horrors–esque blooms, and a sterile waiting room. Here, a look inside our favourite installations.
Primavera in Sospeso (Spring on Hold)
Jennie Suddick and Anna Rose
Artists Jennie Suddick and Anna Rose used tangles of yarn, streamers, cut-out leaves, paper snowflakes, ribbons and long braids of fake hair to create a canopy in the second floor foyer. Since Rose is based in Italy and Suddick in Toronto, the elements of the installation were constructed separately, then uncoiled in the Gladstone.
1:1 Collective (Astrid Greaves, Carla Lipkin, Lisa Gregory and Sarry Klein)
The smallest installation occupies a bathroom. Inside, four landscape architecture interns created a canvas of Toronto that maps systems of plant pollination and seed dispersal throughout the city. Visitors can place colourful stickers—representing specific plants and seeds—on collages of some of the city’s most prominent buildings, like OCADU, the ROM and Roy Thomson Hall.
Grove Collective (Alex Leitch and Yifat Shaik)
Artist Alex Leitch used large-scale industrial laser cutters to produce these cardboard sheets, then hand-assembled them into mechanical blooms with moving petals. Each took six to 10 hours to put together. Everything in the room is recyclable or biodegradable, including the cardboard stems and the shiny petals made of a special type of polyester.
The Long, Tedious Task of Waiting
While Amanda Gresik was studying textiles at OCADU, she became sick and had to take time off of school. To pass the time spent in waiting rooms, she started making “whitework,” a type of white embroidery on white linen fabric. These delicate, tactile artworks hang on the walls of this sterile room. Gresik also made an embroidered hospital bracelet, health card, blood work requisition form and a ticket roll—turning ordinary objects into heirlooms that represent a frustrating yet important period of her life.
Rat’s Nest Skatepark
Oasis Skateboard Factory
Senior students at the alternative high school Oasis Skateboard Factory say that since people in Toronto sometimes view skateboarders as the rats of the city, they may as well own it. They built a post-apocalyptic clubhouse-slash-half-pipe that’s covered in doodles of rats and pizza, destroyed skateboards, worn-out sneakers and grimy posters. A papier-mâché, Converse-wearing rat sits atop the half-pipe.
Over the course of three years, Calgarian Patrick Li collected fortune cookie messages from friends, family and Chinese restaurants. Here, he’s re-printed thousands of them and created a grid of fortunes that offer takeaways like, “Fear is the opportunity for courage,” “A smile is the whisper of a laugh,” and “Love the meal? Buy one to go, too…” He’s covered the opposite wall with the winning Lotto 6/49 numbers since the 1980s.
Multi-disciplinary artist Marian Wihak’s room was inspired by NASA’s declaration that all lifeforms and much of the water on earth likely came from exploding comets. Inside a wooden cargo container, he projects images from the Hubble telescope and close-ups of an iris.