Marleen Sleeuwits: Not The Actual Site / Brookfield Place

The combination of Marleen Sleeuwits’ spatial photographs with the architecture of Allen Lambert Galleria dynamically challenges and re-orients linear perspective. Transforming the Galleria both visually and physically, Not The Actual Site utilizes ‘generic spaces’ and brings to our attention how we navigate ourselves through a space we pass by everyday.

Installation view of Marleen Sleeuwits, Not The Actual Site

Not The Actual Site disorients yet heightens awareness at the same time. The image is not limited to the free standing walls. “Interior no. 50’s” blue floor bleeds onto the ground in the form of an angled sleek vinyl. The image blurs the line between photograph and painting, mixing recognizable office backdrops with colourful graphic interventions.

Installation view with Marleen Sleeuwits, Interior no. 50, 2017

Amongst the free-standing walls of photographs, also included are photographs taken from the Galleria itself. The lit glass floor envelops one of the panels. Shot at an angle and positioned diagonally on the very glass floor it’s showing, the image turns the grounding upright. Because the image wraps around to the sides of the wall, it almost looks as if the image has spontaneously sprouted from the ground. The speckled marble floor is included in the bottom corner of the image and furthers the disorienting of perspective and space.

Installation view of Marleen Sleeuwits, Not The Actual Site

Installation view of Marleen Sleeuwits, Not The Actual Site, detail

“Interior no. 51” is a deep blue and green photograph of a strange hallway. The green of the squares on the image is extended on to the floor and the square glass lights shines through the vinyl. The deep hallway with entrance at the end invites the viewers in. In this galleria where majority of the viewers are commuting passersby, the introduction of these panels cause spatial transformations. Its position along the middle of the Galleria redirects the flow of pedestrians and compels them to weave in and out through Sleeuwits’ ‘non-spaces’.

Installation view with Marleen Sleeuwits, Interior no. 51, 2017

These commuters, used to walking through Brookfield Place everyday, are dramatically introduced to this change in space and perspective. Panels are placed in front of entrances and escalators, confronting visitors immediately. Through these panels, the way walkers situate themselves in the surrounding has effectively been changed. Further, the way we identify ourselves through our location has also been changed.

Installation view of Marleen Sleeuwits, Not The Actual Site

Not the Actual Site is not your traditional photography exhibit. It is a site-specific architectural intervention. These spaces we are so familiar with – the Galleria and generic office spaces – are reintroduced in a way that redirects the human flow while heightening our awareness of the everyday sites we absent-mindedly shuffle through.

Text and photo: Sunny Kim

*Exhibition information: Marleen Sleeuwits, Not The Actual Site, April 30 – June 1, 2018, Brookfield Place, Allen Lambert Galleria, 181 Bay Street, Toronto.

**Part of Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival 2018 / PUBLIC INSTALLATION

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