Steve Topping


Flatlander South East
photograph, 12" x 18"
courtesy the artist
value: $400 framed

Flatlander South West
photograph, 12" x 18"
courtesy the artist
value: $400 framed

Flatlander is a self-destructing project on land maintained by Boreal Art/ Nature in the northern Laurentian Mountains, north of Montreal. It's a skiing trail that doesn't go up or downhill and is marked out with 500 reflective thumbtacks (from the local snow machine shop) The tacks (which make points of light if you have a flashlight) are pressed into trees so that they are perfectly level with each other. The project is derived from skiing and the need to stay level so a part of this project is the idea of a contour line on a topographical map and the realization of such a line on the hard landscape. The direction of the flat path is limited by the height of one’s eye level at the tree and by the base of the tree at the ground. These tacks make a wide trail of reflective dots that is not a straight path but rather a winding ring around the top of the hill. A level line is maintained from tack to tack until the path returns to the beginning wrapping it's way around a hill. Analogous with the rings of Saturn where rocks in the ring are points of light. When skiing near this artwork one feels the uneasy sense of something too flat; like a horizon or the surface of a lake. It's about 1km long.

Steve Topping lives and works in Montreal, Quebec and St. John’s, Newfoundland. Working both as a solo artist and as part of artists' collectives, he organizes and participates in site-specific projects that integrate film, architecture, painting, sculpture, new media, installation and activism. Topping has exhibited across Canada as well in the Netherlands, France and the United States, and sits on the board at Articule artist run centre in Montreal.