For the 2022 Toronto Biennial, Eduardo Navarro presents a newly commissioned public sculpture titled Wind Oracle (2022), which invites audiences to interact with the wind and consider the animacy of air and deeply entangled relations between humans and the natural world. The site-specific work is installed on the lawn of Colborne Lodge, a nineteenth century house located in the centre of High Park—named so because it is the highest point in the area. The lodge was built on a hill overlooking Lake Ontario in 1836 by John Howard—an architect, engineer, and City Surveyor—and his wife, Jemima Howard, an artist and avid gardener. In 1873, the Howards conveyed their house and property of 120 acres to the city of Toronto for the free use and enjoyment of its citizens.
Although Wind Oracle appears to be an abstract human figure, Eduardo likens the design to a “breathing house,” with three distinct elements including a weather vane that rotates to create different combinations and opportunities for contemplation and open-ended play. Eduardo’s idea for the project grew out of his experience of Covid-19 over the last two years and the increasing sensitivities and politicization of collective breathing and public space. For the artist, such interests aligned with the characterization of High Park as one of the city’s “green lungs,” a popular feature of industrialized cities of the nineteenth century that was believed to reduce pollution and provide cooler, cleaner air for city-dwellers. Eduardo was also intrigued by stories of the High Park Forest School, which opened nearby in 1914 and was, for the first eighteen years, completely outdoors, using tents and wooden platforms as classrooms under a high canopy of trees. The school was originally designed for children with tuberculosis, cholera, or other ailments, for whom fresh air was believed to improve their conditions, if not cure their maladies.
Keeping with the artist’s practice of inserting himself into legal, spiritual, scientific, medical, and ecological environments, here, Eduardo investigates alternative belief systems and points to new possibilities for perceiving and relating to the world. As a viewer approaches the oracle from the road, they’ll see a sign with the following prompt:
What if there were no trees for Wind to move or
sounds for Wind to carry?
What if there were no smells for Wind to transport
or birds or pollen to navigate?
What if there were no houses for Wind to whistle
or sand for Wind to play with?
“Nothing is” what it looks like;
perhaps, this is why Wind
always needs to look like something.
Please use Wind Oracle as a medium.
Close your eyes for as long as you want, to
reset Wind Oracle from previous questions.
Take a deep breath and ASK.
Slowly, open your eyes.
Please feel free to share back into the
world, Wind’s reply. For example, by
inventing a dance, a language or song,
by drawing or meditating, or
simply falling into the deepest silence.
Now, can Wind ask you something?
Wind Oracle will remain on view at Colborne Lodge throughout the summer 2022.
Co-commissioned and co-presented by the Toronto Biennial of Art and the City of Toronto with support from Colborne Lodge, Toronto History Museums and ArtworxTO. This exhibition has been supported by Cadillac Fairview Corporation.
Detailed Audio Description:
Eduardo Navarro (born in 1979, Buenos Aires, Argentina) explores perception and its relation to changes in reality and time. His work draws from the relationship between art and the spiritual as much as information from the field of science. Recent solo exhibitions include (breathspace), Gasworks, London (2020); Into Ourselves, Drawing Center, New York (2018); and OCTOPIA, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2016). Recent group exhibitions include the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (2020); SITE Santa Fe Biennial (2018); and the 26th and 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2010 and 2016).
Public washrooms and ramp
- Getting There
There is limited free parking on site during the week. Currently, High Park is closed to vehicles on the weekends.
From the south: Take The Queensway or Lakeshore Boulevard to Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed north on Colborne Lodge Drive into High Park for 200m. Colborne Lodge will be on the right.
From the north: Take Bloor Street West to Colborne Lodge Drive and proceed south into High Park. Continue south on West Road for 1km, then turn right and proceed south on Colborne Lodge Drive for 750m. Colborne Lodge will be on the left.
From the south: Take the 501 streetcar or bus to Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed into High Park for 200m. Colborne Lodge will be on the right.
From the north: Take the Bloor/Danforth subway to High Park Station. Follow Colborne Lodge Drive south through High Park for 1.7 km. Colborne Lodge will be on the left.
For specific TTC route and schedule information call 416-393-4636 (INFO) or visit the TTC website.