The Toronto Sculpture Garden has been the site of innovative contemporary sculpture installations since 1981. This small, urban park in the downtown core serves as a testing ground for visual artists to experiment with public space and to address issues of architectural scale, materials and context. It has given some artists their first opportunity to work out-of-doors, to experiment with the challenges of siting work within an urban environment and it has provided them with critical experience for future public art projects.
Gold, Silver & Lead is a monumental stack of refined first generation Honda Civics, in painted steel, which rises 20’ above the viewer in a repetitive succession. Recalling the form of Brancusi’s Endless Column, but modified and transformed, it suggests both infinity and the wholeness of a finite form.
The work also references 1979, when the Toronto Sculpture Garden site was still a parking lot, and when Buckminster Fuller endorsed, in an advertisement, the Honda Civic as the car to service his own unique mobility needs. The TSG converted an old parking lot into a critical space, a thinking garden. Similarly Fuller’s vehicles wait for ignition and, once mobile, switch from the material to the immaterial – a mental state of fluidity. These parallel histories of transformation intersect neatly in 1979, the year that planning began for the Toronto Sculpture Garden. The totemic form of Gold, Silver & Lead acknowledges this history and pushes the idea of mobility one step further by making the automobile static and something to be considered rather than experienced.