Posted by Cheryl Kaplan

Dave Dyment’s Substitute City: Printed Live at Open Studio’s Artist Proof Sale

This year, at Open Studio, we are so fortunate to have an artwork by Dave Dyment, commissioned specially for our annual Artist Proof Sale on December 1st. Substitute City is an altered transit map of Toronto, which includes fictional subway stops erected by film and television crews. Painstakingly researched, the graphic screenprint introduces three new lines and a total of twenty-one new stops.

Here are Dave Dyment’s comments on the concept behind Substitute City:

“This year Bay Lower station (Toronto’s one abandoned platform) celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. The stop – in use for only six months before being mothballed – represents a missed opportunity to address the Bloor bottleneck and other problems and limitations of the city’s transit system. Still functional, it is periodically used for reroutes and as a training facility. Its primary function, though, is as a stand-in for American subway stations. Suicide Squad, Johnny Mnemonic, Bulletproof Monk, Mimic, Total Recall, The Strain, and countless other productions have been filmed at Bay Lower. The station is equipped with signage to transform it into a wide variety of other places, including transit maps of other cities. 

Substitute City is a composite remapping of the city, compiled through its role as proxy. The work owes a debt to Martin Kippenberger’s Metro Net (a subway that ran from Greece to the Yukon), Buster Keaton’s The Frozen North, and the various activist maps that are created and distributed with the hope of generating dialogue around the needs of commuters.”

Dave Dyment manipulates and transforms concepts and materials from popular culture to provoke new way of thinking and triggering discussion. His work mines pop culture for shared associations and alternate meanings, investigating the language and grammar of music, cinema, television and literature in order to arrive at a kind of folk taxonomy of a shared popular vocabulary.

He is a Toronto-based artist whose practice includes audio, video, photography, performance, writing and curating, as well as the production of artists’ books and multiples. Past projects include a 100-year old whisky, homemade LSD, a string quartet performing the Beatles’ song A Hard Day’s Night slowed to last twelve hours, and a video work condensing every known disaster film down to the moments of the destruction and arranging them geographically across twenty monitors.

Dyment’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally. His work is found in many private and corporate collections and in the libraries of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto, and National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. It can also be heard on the YYZ anthology Aural Cultures edited by Jim Drobnick (2004) and New Life After Fire (For Tom Thomson), a collaboration with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, published by Art Metropole (2003). You can view his work on

Limited edition prints of Dave Dyment’s Substitute City will be printed live at Open Studio’s Artist Proof Sale, and he will be there to discuss the work with our guests. We invite to you come see how the art is made, and those prints will be available for sale that very night for just $200 each.

Click here for more information on Open Studio’s Annual Artist Proof Sale.

UPDATE, Dec 2: We still have a few prints left from the edition – click here to buy now but don’t delay, as they will sell out quickly!

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