Elegant Corruptions, the best-named art show in town, opened last night with resounding success. It’s the second in a now annual series of exhibitions called Radiant Dark and the brainchild of MADE partners Julie Nicholson and Shaun Moore. As Nicholson told us, while the “radiant” part of that equation is probably clear, the “dark” might need more explaining. It refers to the “perceived obscurity of Canadian design”—the exhibits are something of a call to arms, a vivid demonstration of just how active a design community we have. (Toronto, as she points out, is the second-ranked city in North America for design work.) While the notion sometimes gets short shrift, Nicholson believes that there is undoubtedly a Canadian aesthetic, which she characterizes as clean, rooted in modernism, and “definitely concerned with a question of identity.”
This year’s installment in the series is devoted to the theme of transgression. “Elegant Corruptions” explores the idea that a little degeneration can be good thing, artistically speaking. It’s “about trying to find the beauty in what can be ugly,” said Nicholson, and based on the pieces we saw, there’s no doubt many of the designers have managed to do precisely that. With more than seven hundred people in attendance last night, and several shiny “sold” stickers as proof that the love is backed up by money, Canadian independent designers have good reason to be hopeful.
We could gush about our favourites, but instead we’ve put up some photos so you can see for yourself.
All photos by Hamutal Dotan/Torontoist.