Monday, January 23, 2012

Flavio Trevisan: Museum of the Represented City

The Koffler Gallery just opened its latest off-site exhibition at 80 Spadina. Flavio Trevisan: Museum of the Represented City opened on Thursday, January 19 with a packed reception of over 250 people.

Flavio has created a complete museum experience within the gallery space – including a gift shop, a curator’s office and a handy museum guide. But it’s his cartographic sculptures that really steal the show. Both large and small painted 3D maps hand-made from millboard, drywall and/or plywood of Toronto’s built urban environment, including its neighbourhoods, the PATH system, dead-end streets and more. They are fascinating, complex and beautiful – I found myself tracing places I knew on the maps, parks I had visited, apartments and neighborhoods I’ve lived in over my years in Toronto.

Flavio’s maps re-imagine the city as a collection of places successively shaped by and reshaping public ideals – he references the complex geographical, social and political histories that have influenced Toronto’s development over the past century.

He’s got a great sense of humour too. Within the gift shop you can find the board game, The Game of Urban Renewal (Special Regent Park Edition), featuring moveable building pieces and player cards telling players to “Assess the environmental impact of a new playground” and more. Game instructions include: “You can demolish a failed urban experiment and start again from the ground up. With no budget problems and no political agendas to cloud your vision, you can build bigger and better than any city’s done before” and “The game never ends. Continue playing until all players have left the game in pursuit of other interests.”

I won’t give anymore away – part of the joy of the experience is discovering the sculptures and maps as you are guided through the museum, from its opening photographs, to a peak out the gallery windows at a downtown skyline filled with cranes and new buildings, through the gift shop at the end with its cheeky multiples and hand-painted t-shirts.

Visit the Museum of the Represented City today and spend the afternoon exploring Toronto and its urban environment, shared histories and collective expectations.

Flavio Trevisan: Museum of the Represented City
Koffler Gallery Off-Site at 80 Spadina, Suite 501
Wednesday to Sunday, 12-6 PM

For more info on Flavio Trevisan:

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