Opening May 24th on MOCA’s 3rd floor, The Life of a Dead Tree by Mark Dion brings a massive, fully grown, deceased tree, along with its inhabitants, to MOCA for the museum’s first summer exhibition in the Tower Automotive Building. This specially conceived project marks the 100th anniversary of the Tower Automotive building and brings attention to our role in observing and caring for Toronto’s natural ecosystems.
Appropriately sourced from a cemetery, a site that continues to play a role in sustaining Toronto’s urban forest, the dead tree will be the central host for a “live” and sensory experience. With the support of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto and other partners, visitors can observe and participate in a kind-of autopsy of the tree that will unfold over the course of a two-month exhibition period. This shared investigation will remove, preserve and document all the various life forms the tree continues to support. Most importantly, the project will act as a site for conversations around specific pernicious, invasive insects threatening North American forests, such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Elm Bark Beetle.
The Lift of a Dead Tree by Mark Dion
Location: MOCA, 3rd Floor, 158 Sterling Rd, Toronto, ON
Date: May 24–July 29, 2019
Trees and forests have long populated Dion’s imagination and a particular body of production. He is well-known for artworks that question how we experience, study, display and think about the natural world. Through this particular project, a range of partners will be called upon to help expand the conversation and research being undertaken at MOCA. Dion states: “to build a culture of nature that features regeneration over destruction, sustainability over depletion and nurturing over domination, it requires input from a diverse collation of thinkers, makers, and doers. Art is one of many areas which can be important to this constellation.”
MOCA will offer a variety of public programs that will run in parallel with the exhibition. A series of talks and walks will discuss the myriad of lifeforms supported by dead trees, including Dead Trees for: Birds; Insects; Fungi etc.. There will also be opportunities for visitors to participate in the autopsy of the tree, as well as undertake drawing classes that examine the organisms sourced from the tree, along with focusing on the intricate textures of the tree itself.