A beautiful day in Toronto and a few hours to kill before going in search of sandwich (see more here) I started walking from my hotel in the direction of Dundas street thinking I would take in a bit of Canadian son, Frank Gehry’s architecture at the Art Gallary of Ontario (AGO). To my delight, the museum was hosting a very moving show of Chinese born artist & political activist, Ai Weiwei. My afternoon was about to take a very unexpected and profound turn.
Not that the architecture wasn’t arresting. Indeed the facade of the building is unmistakably Gehry with a large multi-plane glass “sculpture” tacked on to an existing building a full city block long. Inside, a wooden circulation path snakes its way in and out of the hallways and arches. It is a study in contrast that comes to a beautiful crescendo in the form of a circular staircase seemingly levitating in the central atrium. But Gehry’s circulation path wasn’t the only “snake” in the building on this day. Installed at the entrance to the Ai Weiwei exhibit, was a serpentine sculpture made of nylon back packs commemorating the more than 5000 children who were killed when their poorly constructed schools collapsed in the massive Sichuan province earthquake of 2008.
Inside the show were a host of equally thought provoking objects, each meticulously crafted and beautiful in their own right but filled with the power to make any viewer question the world in which we live, the history that unfolds around us each and every day, the governing bodies of China and the world beyond, and not the least of which, our power as thinking individuals. Ai Weiwei, According to What remains at the Art Gallery Of Ontario through October 27, 2013 before moving onto Miami and Brooklyn. A must see exhibit according to me.