Tucked away from the bustle of Toronto’s Queen Street West, a small, perpetually closed storefront in Lisgar Park displays its wares of novelty items and vintage finds. Not your average pop-up shop, this solitary structure is actually an art installation called Twilight, created by New York-based artist Rhonda Weppler and Toronto-based Trevor Mahovsky.
Visitors can peek inside to see some 500 replicas of various items, which light up in sequence every evening, beginning at 6:45 and continuing through the night (using a computer-controlled program generated by Rhonda’s brother, Wade Weppler). The objects span a range of eras and interests, reflecting a cross-section of consumer culture. Among them are a Radio Shack synthesizer, a box set of Indiana Jones videotapes, a revolving cassette-tape carousel, and an electric bun-warmer, along with a miscellany of out-of-print books and games. Some local finds have also made their way into the mix, sourced from the City of Toronto archives.
The artists made each piece by hand, photographing the original item, printing and assembling the acetate templates, and placing lights inside to transform them into lanterns. Just as the store gradually illuminates each night, the ideas behind the artwork are meant to unfold over time. “At first it may seem quite solemn, and then it seems ridiculous, and then it seems nostalgic or like an advertisement,” said Mahovsky in a Zoom discussion. “There are deliberate contradictions … it’s not just a memorial to objects.”
The project, commissioned by the Toronto Sculpture Garden, closes Oct. 27.
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