Artistic duo raise Nuit Blanche exhibit from the deep

One night every fall Toronto, is taken over and transformed by contemporary artists.

This year, streets were closed to traffic and the subway remained open until four in the morning to accommodate the nearly one million people that were expected to take in Nuit Blanche Oct. 1.

For those in attendance, the art event was a one-night commitment. Not so for the artists whose work was on display.

“I feel groggy, I feel tired and I’m stressed,” artist Gustavo Cerquera said as Nuit Blanche unfolded at the Gladstone Hotel.

Cerquera and Halley Rigbey showed their collaborative installation, So Deep, at the Gladstone’s Nuit Blanche event, Fly By Night.

The two artists found out just one month ahead of time that their submission had been accepted into the Gladstone’s event. What would have normally taken five months, they said, they had to accomplish in one.

Cerquera described So Deep as an exhibition of aquatic oddities, a miniaturized version of the Museum of Natural History.

Cerquera constructed the bodies of the creatures using papier mâché and instant coffee, among other materials. Rigbey then created the faces out of paper and added other small details to their bodies.

Some of the sea creatures in the exhibit, which took the pair 48 hours to install at the Gladstone, were lit from the inside. To do this properly, Rigbey spent three days learning how to construct the right circuit for So Deep.

“People will be able to interact with it in a really nice way,” Rigbey said before Nuit Blanche.

Toronto first experienced Nuit Blanche — a free, sunset-to-sunrise interactive art gallery — in 2006. It has grown steadily ever since, organizers say.