When you drive into Niagara Falls, you’re welcomed by a seemingly bucolic grassy hill. Consuming 385 acres of land and standing 10 stories high, the highest elevation in the area is a toxic sculptural wonder. This morphing green mound is collectively known in the community as MOUNT CECOS. It’s a toxic landfill larger in scale than Niagara Falls, and it has become a place marker, a defining element and a fixture in the community.
If you take the time to look closely, you’ll see pipes protruding from the grassy surface with 18-wheeler trucks and machines grazing on deceiving verdant mounds. A vast moat surrounds MOUNT CECOS, desperately struggling to keep it contained. Eventually, it will swallow the city as we continue to shop at the outlet mall, go to school, play golf and buy our groceries all in the shadow of this LANDFILL.
MOUNT CECOS (the sculpture) is named after Cecos International, Inc., a landfill in Niagara Falls, NY. The sculpture is also a landfill filled with Calato’s own garbage. It was an experimental process for Calato as it was built using a variety of materials that she had never worked with before. She collected all of her nonbiodegradable, non recyclable trash for a few weeks in order to create the shape and structure of the landfill. Some of these materials include packing peanuts, plastic food packaging, detritus that was swept up from her studio floor, dryer lint and remnants from the build process of the sculpture itself. The landfill was further shaped using old paint tarps and rags cut into strips and applied in layers. The grassy base is leftover sequin fabric from an old project, and the grass was made from hand painted fringe. There about 35 shades of green and 100,000 pieces of grass.
MOUNT CECOS - A TABLETOP VERSION OF A REGIONAL TOXIC LANDFILL - AT BOX GALLERY