Last night I popped by 401 Richmond, a gorgeous old restored industrial building that houses over a hundred studios, galleries and shops for local artists and businesses here in Toronto. It also boasts a rooftop garden, which I am determined to take a tour of one of these days.
My friend Erin and I had a grand old time strolling around and checking out some of the exhibits, many of which, looking back, skewed a little creepy. Behind a mysterious curtain reminiscent of that crazy curtain of death in Order of the Phoenix, a video taken from the viewpoint of a driver on dark country roads played under a recording of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. Creepy.
I peered through a series of portholes to view three black and white photos, one of a giant pile of discarded glasses, one of a pile of shoes. It was the one of the pile of discarded walkers, canes and artificial legs that raised the hairs on the back of my neck as I realized what I must be looking at. Reading the wall placard confirmed these were things taken from Holocaust victims. Definitely creepy and of course, horrifying to contemplate. Amazing how inanimate objects can tell such a powerful story.
I felt so spooked after viewing them that it took me a minute to get up the nerve to walk in to one of the next exhibits we came across. Though, to be fair, I think it would have given me the heebs and jeebs all on its own. It featured an empty bed covered with a quilt, gaudy funeral wreaths in the corner, and paintings of women’s hair and rugs and more funeral wreaths.
There were also some stunningly gorgeous giant charcoal drawings I’d have happily taken home were I in a position to cough up a few month’s rent. I bought these adorable cards at the rad book/gift shop instead: