Forgetus Collective opened with a bang on Saturday with an afternoon party in their space at 163 Sterling Road. Sitting on their crowded patio you could hear the fuzzed-out sounds of local bands Portraits and Mausoleum in the room next door, while looking out over the city sprawl and the distant, twinkling CN Tower marking our position within it.
The unassuming district of warehouses and vacant lots on Sterling Road is the perfect home for the gallery space according to Cia Mellegers, founder of Forgetus Collective along with her partner Dylan Thompson.
"It's a great location because it's pretty isolated so we don't have to worry too much about noise complaints, and the rent isn't too outrageous", she tells me. "The area is being developed, which means in a few years it will probably be all condos and commercial space, but right now I think it's one of the last great locations for artists in the downtown area."
Forgetus Collective hopes to become a hub for underground arts culture in Toronto, with a diverse mandate to host art exhibitions and installations, concerts, film screenings, lectures and parties. Mellegers cites the DIY ethos of the late 70s New York punk scene and the Young British Artists of 90s London as key inspirations, as well as Toronto's own art scene in the 80s, centered around the Cameron House on Queen West .
"The work that came out of those scenes was extremely experimental and they could not have known how important it would be to succeeding generations-- they just did it for the sake of it, and that youthful energy and desperate determination to create something unique is palpable in the work", she says, adding that the vibrancy of the contemporary art scene is enhanced by social media uniting formerly disparate communities of young artists in Toronto .
Forgetus Collective gallery doesn't keep regular public hours, instead opening up for special events. Next Friday "Best of Show", an art exhibit by Brad Tinmouth and Brian Rideout , opens and on the Labour Day weekend there will be a launch party for Trapshot Archives, a Montreal-based art/creative writing zine.
For other upcoming events featuring some of the most interesting young artists and musicians in the city you would be well advised to watch this space.
Writing by Bill Bedford. Photos by Kaela Greenstien