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People in Toronto really don't like the depressing art at Union Station

If you frequently travel through Union Station, you might've noticed the colourful yet dreary art pannels that run through the entire length of the subway platform.

While some don't mind observing the art installation during their commutes, others are calling the piece "depressing." 

In a recent Reddit thread that has amassed hundreds of comments, one user wrote, "Union Station has the most depressing, unsettling art. No part of it sparks joy. Will they ever change this?" 

union station artThe installation is called Zones of Immersion, and consists of a 150-metre screen of seven-foot-tall glass panels. 

The translucent mural is composed of silver-stained, enamelled, acid-etched and laminated glass panels. 

union station artMulti-disciplinary artist and OCADU professor Stuart Reid is the brains behind the project, and spent hours riding the subway, sketching passengers, and writing poems for the installation. 

union station art"Using imagery and text, the artwork captures the blurred, throbbing rhythyms of a city in transit," reads a description of the installation.

union station artSome sketches depict ghoulish figures making their commutes, including a mother holding her baby while on a train. 

union station artThe installation also includes a variety of poems, with one reading, "where do you look? You can't look at the people across or behind, up or down too intently - they get 'creeped out' yet they're right in front of you."

In 2008, Reid won an international competition and was commissioned to create a permanent art installation for the second subway platform at Union Station. 

union station art"It is filmic, immersive, and responsive to the viewers' movements – seeing themselves figuratively and literally mirrored in this subjective rendering of the very experience they are objectively part of at the moment of their viewing," Reid said of the installation. 

The project was finally installed in 2015, eight years after its initial completion. 

union station artWhile some people don't seem to be too fond of the installation, others said they've grown to appreciate it. 

"This is a visual representation of a creeping loss of personality, and essential humanity," one Reddit user wrote. "Somehow, I like it. But not sure it's appropriate for the setting." 

union station artWhile opinions on the installation may differ, the project most definitely provides a space for reflection and observation amid subway delays that regularly plague Union Station.

Photos by

Fareen Karim 


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