Toy Art: Artists Incorporate The Objects Of Our Youth

Hans Hemmert toy art

Hans Hemmert

Yoram Wolberger toy art

Yoram Wolberger

Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer

I have to confess I am easily drawn to works of art that resemble or depict toys and other childhood objects.  At face value these works are easy, as all of us have some form of relationship or pre-existing association with the referenced nostalgic icons.  In other words, the works naturally engage us and draw us in.  However, these works, specifically those featured here, use the familiar imagery to interject layers of conceptual content, moving far beyond catchy into heavier implications, through expert usage of scale, quantity and context.

Context is key in these pieces.  Maurizio Cattelan is a conceptual master of context, as demonstrated in his piece Daddy Daddy, which features a large drowned figure of Pinocchio floating face down in a pool inside the Guggenheim.  The result is ironic, tragic and flawless.    As well, the practice of significantly altering scale such as Jeff Koons‘ balloon animal sculptures, Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Lamp/Bear) and Yoram Wolberger‘s life-size sculptures of toy and trophy figurines, allows the objects to become monolithic, dwarf us and alter our sense of reality.

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Maurizio Cattelan

 

Cattelan’s personal art practice has led to him gaining a reputation as an art scene’s joker. One of his best known sculptures, ‘La Nona Ora’ consists of an effigy of Pope John Paul II in full ceremonial dress being crushed by a meteor and is a good example of his typically humorous approach to work. Another of Cattelan’s quirks is his use of a ‘stand-in’ in media interviews equipped with a stock of evasive answers and non-sensical explanations.

 

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