Downtown Toronto (Twilight Time)
Aude Moreau creates site-specific interventions, installations, films, and photographs that address North American urban economic utopias. In Downtown Toronto (Twilight Time), 2016, Moreau continues her investigation into the metaphorical possibilities of architecture and the privatization of public space. Through a carefully orchestrated perspective, Moreau’s commanding view of Toronto’s iconic skyline highlights the dominance of its financial district. The Montreal-based artist oriented a camera atop Fire Station 315 at College Street and Bellevue Avenue to obtain a raised vantage point that homes in on the city’s economic core, specifically its main banking institutions. Captured just after sunset against a vibrant blue sky, commercial logos glow in the remaining light and compete for visibility. Small from a distance, but still highly conspicuous, the presence of these logos accentuates the complex relationships between signs, language, and corporate power.
Commissioned as a billboard for The Power Plant’s south façade, in dialogue with her solo exhibition inside the gallery, Moreau’s expansive image complicates the threshold between public and private space. Maintaining a format that is derived from promotional signage, it reinforces the competitive nature of advertising in the public sphere. Inscribed in real space, the scene makes evident how corporations visually assert their identities by occupying the horizon with their omnipresent signage. Moreau’s particular vantage point also indirectly sets up a functional contrast between the fire station and these distant towering structures: the former houses the caretakers of the city, while the latter is occupied by those that build its economic prowess. Moreau’s spectacular targeted view, here embedded in the urban landscape that emerges beyond it, draws attention to the multinational signs and signifiers that form and define cities.
Special thanks to Dan Sell and the firefighters at Station 315, Rafael Goldchain, Zack Hobler, and Alexis Bellavance.
Presented in partnership with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition The Political Nightfall (organized by Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal) until May 15