Never before have we had so many different tools of communication. The quality and form of transmission, including the information, images and emotions shared, connect us and keep us up-to-date in ways not previously experienced. Project Villa – an event that first took shape in the Warsaw summer of 2006 – has from the beginning been animated by a desire to connect artists, galleries and audiences from around the world.


Together with a group of international galleries, the Villa project travelled to Reykjavik in 2010, and Tokyo in 2011. Alongside local galleries and organisations, we created a spontaneous, informal artistic community; a community whose priority was joint action and the sharing of ideas and experiences. Similarly, we want this edition of our project – Villa Toronto – to be an opportunity for interaction between artists and galleries. We have in common not so much a shared buisness model, but the ambition to discover and a desire to experiment, learn, and play within the field of art. One of the main goals of the project is to generate space and time for casual conversation and informal discussion outside the daily pressure and time constraints set by traditional openings, exhibitions and art fairs.


We’re excited by the prospect of presenting Villa Toronto at Union Station. This place – the main railway station of the city, and a site that thousands of travellers navigate daily – will create a unique spatial and semantic context for the artists and works presented. Union Station does not represent, for us, a place of departure or connection. Instead, it is the destination point of the trip, an ad hoc exhibition space where one can contemplate the vastness of the architectural form, the flow of time and people, the routine and repetition of everyday tasks. Above all, this particular location posits the idea of communication as central. The site, by its very nature, actively questions the presence of art in public space, the role of the general audience and the use of participatory tactics in the presentation of artwork. Villa Toronto aims to be a real time and consistently evolving exercise that demonstrates how a gallery and an audience can communicate in a public space that lacks the formal support of the gallery’s white walls.


Our understanding of communication as a basic life-function of the gallery takes the subject of research as a natural and essential element. We are particularly interested in the art and artistic life that develops outside the main centres of the global art industry. An awareness of the local context is an inalienable feature of artistic practice and a gallery’s existence. An intellectual pursuit of forgotten, overlooked or nonmainstream creative places is both inspirational and formative to our own sense of identity. Villa is in this sense an exploratory research project, and the choice of Toronto as host to this edition of the project has been a natural option from the beginning. Canada, after all, is a country of impressive and internationally regarded artists, about whose origin – with the exception of fellow Canadians – often little is known.


Lastly, the Villa Toronto book forms an important part of our project. Thanks in large part to the cooperation between Villa and Art Metropole - a unique institution in the Toronto arts community - the subject of art publication will feature prominently in our program. The renaissance in artist’s books and self-published material observed in recent years has not occurred by chance; it has coincided with the dynamic and on-going development of digital technologies and the decline in relevance of the book as a necessary by-product of intellectual life. The publication has therefore been created with a certain conviction in mind: that a book as a physical repository of ideas and history is still a useful, tactile and pleasing object, a companion that is tactful and does not overwhelm, an object that can be passed from hand to hand as document and guide.