A two-month-long free exhibition that recently opened in downtown Vancouver is a sensory showcase that combines artistry in all its forms, with a specific focus on architecture, public art, fashion, music, and the written word.
All of this is expressed through the eyes of Ian Gillespie, founder of Westbank, in his ‘Fight for Beauty’ – the name of the exhibition, which is based on Gillespie’s book of the same name.
Wedged into the laneway between the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel and the Shaw Tower, the pop-up exhibition housed inside a temporary enclosed pavilion structure features approximately 41 pieces of work that expose Westbank beyond its development roots – that it has evolved into a ‘culture company’.
Upon entering the pavilion, visitors are greeted by a striking neon sign of an exhibition tone-setting poem that reads:
When did we say yes to beauty, being discarded, deleted and demanded? Where is the agreement that beauty is optional – not urgent for us to thrive? Since when have we learned the price of everything yet know the value of nothing? How could we have missed that beauty is a strength, not a substance, that makes its way through the cracks to come after our senses in full force to push us forward?
The only ‘permanent’ piece of the exhibition is Omer Arbel’s sculptural glass forest 16.480, a public art piece that has been a centrepiece of the laneway for several years and was recently expanded to stretch the full length of the plaza between Canada Place Way and West Cordova Street.
Visitors can also expect other pieces such as The Butterfly Fazioli grand piano designed by late Vancouver architect Bing Thom, the maquette of ‘Rising’ by Zhang Huan, the lanterns designed by Martin Boyce for the TELUS Garden laneway, and numerous models of various major upcoming developments in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto by architects such as Kengo Kuma and Bjarke Ingels.
As for the exhibition’s fashion elements, it includes vintage couture fashion pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, two iconic pieces by Alexander McQueen, and a rare 1925 cocoon coat by Poiret.
A number of new works were commissioned specifically for the exhibition, such as Territory 56 by artist Tristesse Seeliger, a special musical composition by High Plains, and an original spoken-word poem and six film shorts.
This is Westbank’s third exhibition following 2014’s Gesamtkunstwerk and this year’s JAPAN LAYERED, which included pop-up retail stores for MUJI and BEAMS.
Fight For Beauty – directly across the street from the Vancouver Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza – runs daily until December 17, 2017, and visitors can select a self-guided tour or a 58-minute audio tour.
While the exhibition is free, tickets are required.
Where: Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel – 1038 Canada Place, Vancouver
When: October 14 to December 17, 2017
Tickets: Free. Online.