Crystal Palace, 2012, Photography by John Richardson
Vikky Alexander - Vancouver, Canada
Crystal Palace 2011
45 - Toronto Eaton Centre (Trinity Way entrance)
220 Yonge Street
[ selected photographs ] [ video ]
Describing the development of this work, the artist has remarked: "In December 2010 I visited Kew Gardens
in London, UK, with a particular interest in the Palm House, which has been called the most important
surviving Victorian iron and glass structure in the world. It was intended to house and exhibit plants
of economic importance. My original interest was in the transparency of the utopian glass building. However,
through the process of photographing, I realized that my focus was actually the plants and their reclamation
of the architecture, which I saw as a metaphor for the relationship between Britain and the Colonies
at the end of the 19th century. These new photographs relate directly to the West Edmonton Mall series
I made in 1992 where the tropical plants, birds and fish are juxtaposed and contained within the utopian
consumerist structure of the North American mall."
The glass and iron structure of the Toronto Eaton Centre atrium echoes the framework of the Palm House
in the photographs. Placing the images in the mural-sized spots reserved for advertising brings a sudden
reversal of function to the mall, suggesting its immanent reclamation by aggressively verdant nature.
Artist Biography: Vikky Alexander lives in Vancouver and works in Victoria, where she teaches at the
University of Victoria. She has had solo exhibitions at TrépanierBaer Gallery, Calgary; Art Gallery
of Windsor; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. She has participated
in group exhibitions such as The Experience of Landscape, Whitney Museum of American Art; Toward a History
of the Found Object, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and InterTidal, Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art.