As one of Toronto’s first enclosed malls, the Galleria Shopping Centre has retained much of its original 1970s architecture and interior design. Located at Dufferin Street and Dupont Street, the mall is a relic in an area experiencing a recent surge of new homeowners, restaurants, and galleries. Late in 2015, the site was slated for redevelopment. To mark this transitional moment, Gallery Galleria highlighted the mall’s aesthetic qualities and celebrated its role as an informal gathering place for diverse communities.
Aisle 4 invited nine artists to respond to the mall’s current ecology, varied economies, and aesthetic eccentricities. With practices rooted in social engagement and participatory process, Golboo Amani and Marjan Verstappen each collaborated with mall patrons, adopting different forms of commerce and distribution to promote public exchange and urban beautification. The projects of collaborative duo Sarah Beck and Shlomi Greenspan and Vancouver artist Roy Arden appropriated the aesthetic of the Galleria’s displays and integrated within the mall’s interior spaces. Adrian Blackwell’s sculptural work and accompanying reader featured the social qualities of the site’s architecture, while Fraser McCallum’s installation captured both historical and contemporary accounts of public appreciation for the Shopping Centre. Finally, through Oliver Husain’s video installation and Jessica Vallentin’s interior intervention, the sensory environments and ephemeral actions of the Galleria were altered, honoured, and documented.
This exhibition was made possible through the support of the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council.