Previously on view in the Amsterdam Biennale: Kyle Tryhorn

Toronto Pavilion

Open 5 December 2009 - 3 January 2010 in the Amsterdam Biennale 2009 at Mediamatic.

Toronto, being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, is comprised of a diverse cultural landscape. Many smaller communities coalesce to form a big city. As a way of expressing this plurality, I will ask 8 visual artists from various disciplines to submit an image of their work that will be printed on 13x19 inch posters. This creates the patchwork aesthetic that is symbolic of the city and its art scene.


Pavilion Bonfire - The Toronto Pavilion, curator: Kyle Tryhorn. Dec 5 - Jan 3 2009/10, in the Amsterdam Biennale at Mediamatic. Raphael Rehbach

Toronto’s arts community has a distinctive D.I.Y ethic, seen most notably in a thriving zine culture, its upstart galleries and its internationally recognized music scene. This underground approach encapsulates artists from many mediums. The reason this work thrives is not because it is greatly funded or supported by the public at large. It is because we, as active participants in this scene, create it, support it and embrace it.

With this understanding 8 artists will submit a piece that will then be reprinted on poster quality stock. Visitors to the Biennale will be encouraged to take away the limited edition poster works. They may hang these posters on their bedroom wall, on the cork board at their studio or use the posters to write notes upon. In any case, through the free distribution of posters, Toronto’s artistic vernacular leaves a thumbprint on the Dutch landscape, perpetuating the best qualities of the independent scene: community and imagination. And all with the very same ground level approach as the subculture itself.

At the same time, it is also important to note that the proximity of the city to the vast Ontario wilderness is another important facet of Canadian and Torontonian identity. Torontonians sometimes take this for granted due to the cities traffic, fast pace and daily grind.
Still, many people find themselves relying on nature’s regenerative benefits.
In the cities appearance, both directly and in the social fabric, the distinction between the two aspects is not always obvious. One landscape intrinsically encroaches upon the other. Toronto touts itself as a city within a park and it stretches out to the greener pastures beyond the city limits. Nature surrounds Toronto. This influences our social life by infiltrating most aspects of the culture on a subconscious level. Here lies the dichotomy: the need for city life versus the influence of nature on the Toronto identity.

As a symbol of this influence, the bonfire becomes the reference point for coming together with nature, building an outlet for community and sharing a connection to others.
I propose holding a bonfire off site a few days before the scheduled Toronto Pavilion opens, with an invitation put forth to anyone interested in joining the experience. The significance lies in the fires regenerative qualities, in the fact that it represents the underlying influence of nature within the city as well as bringing a typically Canadian ritual to Amsterdam.
An installation of the campfire inside a forested nook will then be built within the pavilion, using leftover burnt logs and cinders to reinforce the link between these selected artists, the representation of their work and the city in general. At the same time the campfire setting (both offsite and within the pavilion) invites the public to come together in an act that melds Amsterdam’s vibrant city life with Toronto’s. In this way, the idea that everyone is a welcome participant that can become part of Toronto’s social fabric is reiterated in a way that acknowledges natures influence on that very fabric.


The artwork will be printed on (roughly) 13x19 inch sheets of poster quality paper in editions of 100 per artist. The resulting 1000 prints will be stacked inside the space and offered to the public.
A copy of each artist print will be on display inside the pavilion. In the center of the room there will be a campfire installation using the cinders and other burnt offerings of the previous bonfire.

Participating artists include:

Amy Bowles:
Bojana Stancic:
Brendan Flanagan:
Claire Egan:
Davida Nemeroff:
Mat Brown:
Niall Mcclelland:
Sameer Farooq:

Opening Festivities Include - Terraform Dance Party - Video Performance By Jeremy Bailey
Duo Extraordination: DJ Boekhouder(Toronto's Number Crunching Wunderkind) & MyLittleUnderground
"True Canadian" Shots: A combination of warm Maple Syrup and Vodka.

- Special Thanks to Sara Cwynar for the Toronto Pavilion 2009 poster design ( -