Street artist Dan Bergeron uses repurposed condo-ad boards to create a series of sculptures for /// Re-ply \\\.
A series of mostly unmarked art installations has gone up in Regent Park and St. James Town, scattered variously near Parliament Street between Wellesley and Gerrard. Part of Luminato, they are the work of street artist Dan Bergeron, a.k.a., Fauxreel, who famously created those stunning two-storey-tall wheatpasted images of local residents that were stuck to the sides of buildings back in 2008.
This year, as Luminato’s artist-in-residence, Bergeron repurposes Toronto’s ubiquitous brightly coloured condo-ad boards to create /// Re-ply \\\. Many of his installations can be interacted with by the community: in the middle of a grassy field at Winchester Park, next to the Hugh Garner Housing Co-operative, one piece called House of Condo Ad Cards uses those plywood ad boards to form a 15.5-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide triangular house of cards—though to the kids living in the adjacent housing co-op, the sculpture makes for a very novel new jungle gym, as they climb in and out of the various sections on each level of this giant pyramid.
At the far north end of the park, a second installation uses the same materials to create another sculpture that doubles as a jungle gym. This one, called Toronto Housing Price Index, looks suspiciously like a staircase. In fact, it uses stacked and hacked-up condo-ad boards to recreate a bar graph—specifically, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s graph [PDF] showing the average prices of a Toronto house between 1966 ($21,360) and now (nearly half a million dollars).
For Bergeron’s /// Re-ply \\\, the artist also spent three months working with Grade 4 to 8 students in five different elementary schools in Regent Park, St. James Town, and Parkdale to “explore themes of location and transformation.” The result of that collaboration can be seen in the window of an abandoned storefront (which, according to one resident passing by, used to be a Mr. Sub) on the northwest corner of Parliament and Gerrard, where students of Winchester Public School have created self-portraits inspired by Bergeron’s distinctive street-art style.
Walking on and around Parliament Street, you might unexpectedly run into a number of Bergeron’s condo ad–inspired installations, a series of 3D sculptures that provides a contrast to his more common 2D work. Bergeron is a long-time proponent of community interaction and discussion about the ways art can shape a community, so if you’re hoping he’ll shed some more light on his newest work, the artist will be part of a Luminato Illuminations lunchtime discussion this Thursday, June 14, with architect Donald Schmitt of Diamond Schmitt Architects.