8 January 1999 - 14 February 1999
Opening Reception 8 January 1999 8pm
The Provincial Lunatic Asylum was designed very much in the style of a grand estate at the edge of the urban centre. It was thought to be beneficial to its occupants and was part of a reform movement in the treatment of the mentally ill. Its design was much removed from the prison-like environments the mentally ill typically endured. Some 126 years later, this vision had taken on the connotations of an intimidating Victorian prison, out-dated in its facilities and patient care. The decision to demolish the building was very controversial, given its status as an architectural land mark, but today I suspect that most of my audience would have no knowledge or memory of its existence.
The installation takes a look at how space through architecture can embody ideological viewpoints and how time can transform an utopian gesture into an anachronism. Colonial duplication reflects the very notion of the “blue print” (a copy from the original). Mirroring and fragmentation are key elements in the work. The appropriation of the architectural facade of an art gallery to design an Asylum, triggers another layer of interpretation. Placed in Mercer Union’s window space, the work evokes and play with the culturally held views concerning the artist and lunacy; the artist’s space and the asylum.
Patriciu Calimente was born in Romania and came to Canada in 1984. His degrees include: University of Windsor (BFA), University of Toronto (BEd) and York University (MFA). Calimente has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Budapest Academy of Fine Arts, Hungary, with solo shows at the Pitesti Museum of Art, Romania and Optica, Montreal. His work has been collected by the Schuilich School of Business – Ernst and Young Tower and the York Civic Centre. He lives in Toronto and works as an artist and educator.
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