June 2004 to March, 2012
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New Year’s Day spirit lifter

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According to the plaque, the public art in this photo “can lift the spirit of the underpass and celebrate the rites of passage”. What do you think? Is it working?

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Setting aside Mr Revington’s art for a moment (I really don’t mind it but the setting doesn’t help it)… the writer of the plaque copy deserves the “Blue Flame Award” for noxious gas emissions. (Text below)

Perhaps on a nicer day, in a nicer setting, the aluminum sculpture(s) might uplift my spirits more than they do as is. Oh, but the plaque says the purpose is to uplift the spirit of the underpass, not mine. I didn’t even know that underpasses had spirits, so I am no judge of what might uplift them.


Blue Fire – 1996

Artist: Dereck Revington

[Bumpf about local politicians removed]

Railway underpasses are significant landmarks along major City thoroughfares. As a means of recognizing these historic structures, a national competition, sponsored by the Toronto City Council through its Public Arts Commission and Planning and Development Department, was undertaken in 1989. Blue Fire is the third in a series of projects to be implemented.

Blue Fire, a constellation of five paired aluminum fragments etched with traces of a poem by Robin Blaser and suspended from the entrances to the underpass, imagines that something fragile, something tremulous and blue, can lift the spirit of the underpass and celebrate the rites of passage.


Tribute to Robin Blaser after his death in 2009

Derek Revington also won the competition for creation of a suicide prevention installation on the Bloor Viaduct, called “Luminious Veil”. The link describes the piece, made of girders, cables and steel rods, without mentioning how I think it works. If I wanted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, I wouldn’t pick one that would slice and dice me like a chunk of cheddar passing through a cheese cutter. I know, I know… I’d be just as dead, but it’s the aesthetics, you see.

Lest this be taken as a criticism of the work, let me say that I would hate to be driving along below the viaduct when someone jumped…either in front of me or on me. Apparently someone was doing that every 22 days on average. I haven’t seen any numbers on what that’s down to now, but I’ll bet there’s a significant decline.

I will say that I think the name “Luminous Veil” is a bit rich.


1 donna { 01.01.12 at 9:39 pm }

Why didn’t the artist use some colour or contrast? Grey on grey is what I see…and a very downtrodden corner. Makes me sad for the underpass!

2 Bill { 01.01.12 at 9:46 pm }

Agreed. It’s “bluish-grey” at best, not blue. At first, I thought the squiggly shapes might be letters in some language’s script, but apparently not. I suppose they are intended to be flame-like, since that’s the title.

3 Frank deBrune { 01.01.12 at 10:51 pm }

You’re right that the setting doesn’t help the artwork but the artwork doesn’t help the setting either.

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