Will Kwan: A Park for All
Beginning summer 2018, artist Will Kwan’s text installation will be visible along the stretches of the industrial retaining walls of Toronto’s Don River. Kwan’s work speaks to the intersection of audience and public space, to community expectations for urban parks in general and for the Don River Valley Park in particular.
Kwan’s artworks always begin with research into his surroundings, leading to projects that examine the role of institutions in shaping economic and cultural realities. In this case, using a striking blue that mirrors the sky, Kwan’s text challenges the conception of ownership in a public space and instead reclaims the space as a common good.
Kwan has watched the transformation of the Don River Valley and its surrounding neighbourhoods closely, and has taken a keen interest in the area’s revitalization and re-naturalization efforts.
His project builds from these observations and questions about the nature of “publics.” The resulting piece is both provocative and humorous, outlining the ways in which endlessly differing (and sometimes opposing) groups and individuals occupy Toronto and its parks.
About Will Kwan
Will Kwan (b. Hong Kong, 1978) is a Toronto-based artist whose work examines diverse cultural practices as impacted or resurrected in the flows of historical and contemporary economic relations.
Kwan received his MFA from Columbia University in 2004 and from 2004 – 2006 was a research fellow at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, The Netherlands. His work has also been exhibited at the 2010 Liverpool Biennial; the 2007 Montreal Biennial; the 2003 Venice Biennial; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center; Art in General and Cooper Union in New York; the Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai; the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin; the ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe, Germany; the Contemporary Art Center in Vilinus, Lithuania; the Polish National Museum in Poznan; The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the Power Plant in Toronto; and the Western Front in Vancouver.
Kwan has been an artist-in-residence at numerous institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy, the Duolun Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, and recently at the Center for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, England. His work is held in the collections of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the Doris McCarthy Gallery in Toronto, and the M+ Museum of Visual Culture in Hong Kong.