Greg Pacek and Ginger Sorbara present the faded, sumptuous interiors of 53 Indian Grove (High Park, Toronto). Pacek and Sorbara partnered to document the continuing presence of this grand home, poised to take on a new life and new occupants after 80 years of ownership by the Mills brothers. The result of this partnership was a beautiful book as well as an exhibition of photographs. The book focuses on presenting the history of the home with documentation of selected discarded objects that had been collected over eighty years – nothing was ever thrown out. Images include found family photographs, film stills (16mm) and images of rooms at varying degrees of emptiness. The exhibition of photographs highlights images of the now empty rooms – living room, kitchen, bathroom, hallways and bedrooms. The quiet, faded interiors echo with the stories contained in the space..
There’s something very still about this place. The music of many millions of notes played has been quieted. Gone are the backyard summer concerts that echoed through the neighbourhood. Gone are the winter skating parties, the late night porch talk with the clinking of cheering glasses. The death of the Mills brothers, residents at 53 Indian Grove for almost 80 years, blanketed the community in a sadness signified by a persistent silence. At 53 Indian Grove, memories and stories are now what appear to be holding the place up. Once so vibrant, the house now feels skeletal, reminiscent – still there – but missing its characteristic vitality.
Vanitas (Latin) means “emptiness.” Loosely translated, it corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. While vanitas could be an associate of the project, this work looks at the multivalent nature of human vanity, both the meaningful and meaninglessness of our existence here and what we leave behind. As “what is left” dissipates, as it surely will, the hope is that we can bask in the presence of what is passing before us. The images in this collection offer a sense of emptiness, but also strive to deliver a sense of fullness that was instrumental to the process of decay.
- Excerpt from book 53 Indian Grove – Work by Greg Pacek and Ginger Sorbara.
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Dave Leblanc: “The stark beauty of a well-worn home.” Globe and Mail. May 27, 2011
Lisa Rainford: “Century home's transformation inspires Contact photo exhibit.” Bloor West Villager / InsideToronto.com. May 10, 2011