THE TOY, object, photography and collage
From Brighton Based Visual Artist and Printmaker Moatzart
Mannahymn/Playground is a playful piece, partly because of The Toy and in part due to what The Toy represents. This is an anatomical toy from the company Bluebird, fabricated in 1996 after which Damien Hirst’s 1999 sculpture “Hymn” was made.
The moment I realized the significance of The Toy, I knew I wanted to install it in the studio space, with its parts rearranged. Duchamp defines the artistic gesture which accompanies working with the found object as “creating a new thought for the object”, so recontextualizing it. Brillo boxes are no longer brillo boxes in the context of the gallery. I, therefore, wondered what it would mean were I to place The Toy into artistic view again. Am I recontextualizing the object that is The Toy into art (allowing for new thought to be created) or am I recontextualizing Hirst’s sculpture into the reality that is The Toy, bringing back into view the purpose of the object, like a reversed ready-made, or “Using a Rembrandt as an ironing board” (Duchamp).
I thus produced a series of “playgrounds” which serve as possible installations of the toy, which I decided to display to further establish the original purpose of the object. These also served as a clear trajectory of the process.
Within the realm of the found object, one of the factors contributing to the change or alteration is the removal of the purpose for the object, like Man Ray’s Gift, or The Fountain, whereas I have fulfilled its purpose. I bought it, used it for the educational purpose as well as played around with it.
The piece was accompanied by a set of collages, which I would consider a separate piece of work, however, I displayed it in the same context to show the recycling within this theme. For these collages, the only magazine I used was a magazine aimed at gentlemen in the ’70s called “Monsieur”. I wanted to juxtapose the images of the body targeted towards a mature male audience, with the object of the body targeted at a supposed young male audience, suggest maybe a gradual lack of interest for how things work towards how things look. It was not intended as a feminist piece. The same trend could be noticed in the development of females; however, I was aware of the feminist implications of this collage and accepted them as more of an inquiry into how political interpretations are assigned to objects who technically lack them.
This project has prompted me to consider appropriation, and copyright, as I find artistic notions from the legal perspective very amusing, and I intend to further develop the ideas I am now researching.