The exhibition Toys Redux – On Play and Critique brings together artists who use formats and imagery from popular culture that are usually addressed to children or teenagers. Such adoption of motifs disseminated in specific entertainment formats should not be seen merely as a reference to or appropriation of popular culture. It becomes an implicit or explicit critique of a kind of capitalist production of consumer worlds that targets specific audiences but has also infiltrated the field of art for quite some time. Such playful children’s or fantasy worlds, with their pop aesthetic and inherent promise of “innocence,” contrast with the reality of these neoliberal advertising and market strategies.
Subjected to a contextual shift, the rhetoric of these formats develops a new vocabulary. This thematic exhibition brings together works by artists from different generations (Judith Bernstein, Jan Peter Hammer, Lily van der Stokker et al.) with art from the collection of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Cory Arcangel, Nic Hess et al.), expanding on one of the museum’s ongoing central themes, as established by shows by Cory Arcangel (2005), Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (2007), Alex Bag (2011), and others.
- Jan Peter Hammer, The Jungle Book, 2013. Videostill; Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez, Berlin
- Danny McDonald, Credit Card Offering 2 (Uncle Sam in a Hat with Vulture & Rat). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Foto: Nick Ash