Conversation Pieces: Keys
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.


1 Comment


Conversation Pieces: Keys

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. In each installment of Conversation Pieces we’ll look at several artworks devoted to the same theme, and consider what makes public art succeed or fail.
Today: keys.


NAME: Survivors Are Not Heroes (1967)
ARTIST: Sorel Etrog (Toronto)
Sorel Etrog’s work is probably familiar to many Torontonians, since he has about 20 pieces installed around the city. Here are two dealing with similar imagery: the key. It’s a timeless idea: the elusive key to metaphorical doors locked to us by our limited time and perspective. (The ancient Ankh symbol, an Egyptian hieroglyphic in the shape of a key, was the sign for eternal life.) This one in front of Hart House seems to be made of other twisted keys, and perhaps tells us that the big answer can’t be reached without several small ones.


NAME: Sun Life (1984)
ARTIST: Sorel Etrog (Toronto)
This key, installed nearly two decades after the first, sits on Bay Street. It appears to be made out of hinges, which makes us wonder about the key’s purpose. Who needs a key when you have a screwdriver to take the hinges off?
Photos by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.