Intersection, Felix Kalmenson's latest installation on view at XPACE, offers a critique of Toronto's current condo boom. The viewer enters a cruciform room behind an image of a concrete staircase. The room is constructed from vinyl sheets over scaffolding, many blank, some depicting the ubiquitous patterns and materials of contemporary construction. The expansive essay accompanying the exhibition by Stephanie Fielding outlines perspectives on urban planning from Le Corbusier to Jane Jacobs, touching on ideas of the dehumanizing nature of the glass tower block, and the disregard for history and natural development in the placement of characterless architecture.
What I enjoyed most about the installation was Kalmenson's use of the basement space. The scale of the created room is small, claustrophobic, and the ceiling is low (padding is provided). Developers so often attempt to squeeze residential quarters into unliveable space. The blank vinyl and clean photos offer sharp contrast to the rugged walls of the basement. Kalmenson has effectively shown the constraining quality of homogeneous condo structures, leaving me appreciating the hodge-podge masonry of the surrounding walls, layered by many hands over many years.