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Installation (Mixed Media)
Toronto Sculpture Garden
October 2006 – April 2007
Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins

In October 2006, Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins presented a new installation in the Toronto Sculpture Garden that will mark the park’s 25th anniversary.

Exhibiting at the Toronto Sculpture Garden is a respected opportunity for any local or international artist. 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 artists to experiment with public space and to address issues of architectural scale, materials and context. It has given many artists their first opportunity to work out-of-doors, to experiment with the challenges of setting work within an urban environment and it has provided them with critical experience for future public art projects.

For the Toronto Sculpture Garden, Marman and Borins erected a kinetic abstract billboard accompanied by a formally complementary park bench. The sculpture manifests the tensions between modernist high art and the popular sphere. In Sit you directly contrasts art's exalted mystique with mass communication’s ubiquity.

In Sit You employs a Tri-Vision billboard comprised of three-inch wide vertical panels that rotate to produce three different images, featuring a pattern of brightly coloured stripes in motion. On the flat surface of the billboard, the stripes visually oscillate because of their contrasting variation in colours. When the columns of the billboard rotate, the shifting stripes of colour create an intense optical effect through a veritable collision of colour and form.

The coloured stripes of In Sit You strongly reference modernist abstract painting while the motion of the stripes reference the support structure of the mechanized billboard. Although the surface of the billboard appears two dimensional between image shifts, it is comprised of rotating three-dimensional triangular columns.

The theme of the project literally revolves around flatness and three-dimensional motion. To express this inherent three dimensionality of the billboard, the stripes flip from a vertical to a 60-degree orientation upon the first turn of the billboard, and to an opposite 60-degree orientation on the second flip. The third flip reveals the original vertical stripes, and then the motion repeats. Between each flip the viewer sees harlequins of geometric shape and rotations of line. It is as if the stripes are being bent into several dimensions that refer to rendered perspective and yet are highly aware of the flat modernist painting.

In Sit You speaks to the site specificity of the Toronto Sculpture Garden by placing a park bench in front of the billboard and plays upon scale through the insertion of the mass media billboard into the public park setting. From the vantage point of the park bench painted to match the billboard, the viewer becomes part of a conceptual framework and is aware of the multiplicity of the installation's title†In Sit You. The regular purpose of the advertising billboard is replaced by an abstract visual experience.