Friday, October 6, 2017

Guillermo del Toro in Toronto?!

I was excited to hear electronic music pioneers Front 242 were coming to Toronto. I've never seen them live and the last time they came was 10 years ago, so I HAD TO get tickets. When I told a friend about getting tickets in Toronto, they said that the Guillermo del Toro exhibit is making a stop at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It's only one of 3 stops ~ I thought, how exciting! I planned a day ~ exhibition first, lunch, then concert.


The exhibition is so HUGE it takes up almost half of their second floor! It has timed tickets for every half hour, and we went early on a Sunday. It seemed crowded for timed tickets, and just when you think you can get up close to see a piece of artwork there's a person behind you breathing down your neck. That being said, there was SO MUCH mixed media to take in, that you could go back three or four times and not see everything. Just when you think the exhibit is over, there's another room to immerse yourself in!


Stairway going up to the exhibit.


Entrance to the exhibit and wall photo of what one of his libraries looks like.


People everywhere!

All the eclectic ephemera, props, books, writings, and artwork are borrowed from del Toro's home which he calls Bleak House, taken from his favorite Charles Dickens story. This display is just a small part of his 13 libraries that he houses at Bleak House. I can't even begin to imagine all the things he has collected if this is just part of it. The exhibit is loosely grouped by theme and really it's like stepping into his mind. These are the things that make him happy ~ the oddities ~ and as a fellow weirdo, I understand why they bring him joy and inspiration. Since there is so much to take in, I'll just include a tiny part of what I thought were the highlights....


When you step into the exhibition and round the corner you see The Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth. What an entrance! It's probably one of his most well known monsters. The placement of this is in the exhibit it perfect. This piece is life size and this picture doesn't do it justice. (Someday I'll be The Pale Man for Halloween.) Here's the film sequence for reference...




"Look with your eyes not with your hands". Witty.


I thought it was interesting that del Toro collects artwork from artists that are inspired by his films. An artist collecting other artists work about him, you can really see his scope of influence. Here is a piece inspired by Pan's Labyrinth. (The other artwork in the room is reflected in the glass of this painting.)





He collects animation cells from the darker side of Disney. You can see the stylized 1950s aesthetic in these concept art stills.




He has some original Edward Gorey drawings. You can read about my love of Gorey and visit to The Edward Gorey House Museum here.


There was a smaller separate room off in a corner of the exhibit called the Rain Room, it's a recreation of where del Toro has made his study to look like it's thundering outside complete with sound and window lighting...and Edgar Allen Poe?! This just makes sense since he used to work in special effects. He said he finds the sound of rain and thunder relaxing. The Poe life size figure is beautifully made by Thomas Kuebler and there's more of his figures throughout the exhibition.


Stunning costumes from Crimson Peak. They really show how he plays with color and makes the garments period correct.


Giant Angel of Death from Hellboy II: The Golden Army.


Haha. Man, Myth and Magic book series from 1970 are in his library and were the first books he bought to research the occult.


And here I thought the music in the exhibition was being piped in! Nope, they had a real piano player in the middle. Really this exhibit is installation art, where you are completely taken to another place. (Sorry the video doesn't seem to be working.)


There was lots of movie props including this helmet from The Phantom of the Paradise. (Not a movie he made, but a good one nonetheless.)


There was a room with comic books and horror magazines from floor to ceiling. They are real, this isn't wallpaper! I was impressed he had some Buffy comics. You can read about my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show here.



More very impressive life size statues.


"Friend".


Wall of Frankenstein covers.

This is just a tip of the iceberg of what was on display, it doesn't include his sketchbooks, artifacts, vintage toys, books, and curiosities. You can see where his creative process gets a jump start for his films. The only collection that was included in the show that terrified me was the insects. I know they always play a large part in his movies and there is a room of taxidermied insects in the exhibition. The scariest thing in the exhibit was an Owl Moth the size of my hand. If I encountered this in real life, I think I would die. I probably fear butterflies and moths more than anything. Which leaves a couple questions...What doesn't he collect? And who dusts everything?!

A couple pet peeves about the exhibit. (I feel I can say these things because I used to work in an Art Gallery and minored in Museum Studies.) The glass over the artwork in the Rain Room was really dirty and there was a couple cronoslogical er... I mean chronological errors on the name plates. (Like my del Toro pun?)

Overall, it's a huge display of collectables that makes me feel like less of a hoarder. Del Toro's varied inspiration makes me embrace his work even more. Now I want to revisit all of his movies since I know some of the background behind them. I can't rave enough about it. On to more museum!




I can't stop at the AGO without visiting the Henri Moore room. It's like seeing old friends. I always loved how bright the room is and how you can walk around his giant sculptures.

Next we wandered around and had lunch at Sin & Redemption across the street. They are known for having lots of beer on tap.



Me & Andrew. (I'm wearing the T shirt from The Risky Rabbit.)




Until next time Toronto! (p.s. I had my hat first.)







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