Photos by Ash Tanasiychuk and Jon Vincent
Video by Ash Tanasiychuk and Tara Flynn
Text from On Main Gallery’s press release
Thru the Trapdoor was an interdisciplinary art exhibition and event that took place from April 22 to 27, 2014. It was produced to mark the end of an era for the building at 1965 Main Street. For over 2 decades that address had housed the VIVO Media Arts Centre and had provided short and long-term studios for dozens of artists, collectives, festivals and organizations including On Main Gallery who operated out of the storefront since 2007.
In 2011, building owner Rick Erickson renovated the gallery and built a “secret trap door” that led to the basement of the building and Alderbridge Mini-Storage; a 6500 sq. ft. labyrinth of hallways with 70 lockers in all shapes and sizes. The roughly assembled and inexpensive storage units were unmonitored, self-serve and accessible 24/7. They provided storage for many colourful characters over the years, including a music recording studio, artists, art collectors, hoarders, small businesses, divorcées, people living out of cars, and even rumoured sex workers.
The sale of the building and its scheduled demolition offered an opportunity to use the space as never before, and to send it off with a blast. Thru The Trapdoor allowed us to hearken back to the free sprit of large underground warehouse shows of the 1970’s and 1980’s and to create a D.I.Y. exhibition where anything could happen with style and attitude. We invited artists and curators to propose projects that addressed the site-specific potential, content and context of the exhibition. We kept the parameters loose and inclusive, which quickly snowballed to artists inviting other artists, artists acting as curators and curators as artists.
The end result was 77 participants who created 48 projects and performances. Thru The Trapdoor facilitated new imaginings and allowed both artists and the public to believe that anything was possible (if only for a brief moment). We were overwhelmed by the wide range of the artists who participated, the exceptional variety and scale of projects that were completed and by the positive response from the viewers. Together we created an experience that presented interdisciplinary multi-sensory art works that engaged the audience in both familiar and unexpected ways.
VANDOCUMENT was brought on board to document the whole process:
We shot tons of photos and dozens of hours of footage.
Winsor Gallery put it best when they said, “If you were there, relive Thru the Trapdoor through VANDOCUMENT’s skilful film. If you weren’t there, revel in the spirit of a rare DIY exhibition that truly brought our city’s entire art community together.”
It’s all compiled here, one helluva documentation of this once in a lifetime event.
Thank you to Paul, Rick, and the OMG crew for this opportunity. It’s been a blast.