The Toy Box: From Pop To Present is the current exhibition at the local Civic museum that is being held from the 29th July until the 23rd September . Filling the whole gallery floor, the exhibition obviously features the fundamental core of most childhoods – namely, toys.

 

Many parts of the exhibition exude a strong sense of nostalgia from years past. Family favourites and household names such as ‘Lego’ and ‘Baby Born’ star as centre pieces of much of the artwork on display. From first glance, impressions of the exhibition provided us with a charmingly retro feel, however elements of the collection proved shocking and utterly thought provoking to say the least. The most evocative pieces of the collection would definitely be Julie Newton’s ‘Baby Boom’, created especially for the ‘Toy Box” exhibition, and Wayne Chisnal’s, ‘Baby Kit’. Both artists use degrees of distorting the human form that leave a near harrowing lasting impression to say the least. Nevertheless, both the artists’ work are an absolute must see.

 

We also note the elements of futuristic design which obviously encompass toys, and are influenced by childhood. We note the two centrepiece candy pink and technicolour dresses, embellished with images of the popular, ‘My Little Pony’ cartoon. These garments, created by Fyodor Golan are a prime example of how a child-like influence on the composition of their artwork can lead to the fabrication of a completely original piece. This playful and almost animated approach to art embodies the tone and influence set by Rei Kawakubo (designer of Come Des Garçons) upon her 2014 ‘Not Making Clothing’ spring/summer collection. Although Kawakubo historically denied her clothing as being referred to as “an artform,” it’s undeniable that her 2014 collection was based on childhood and the adolescent mind to create a totally refreshing approach to fashion. This proved to have an undeniable resemblance to the assumed influence of much of the work on display at the Civic gallery. She also worked in a striking candy pink, much like Golan – a substantially removed hue from her usual, trademark black. The contrast between both the child influence and the sophisticated flare of Kawakubo’s adult design exuded a deeply innocent and endearing feel to the whole collection. Rita Britton of Nomad atelier has since said that she has “great respect for the integrity of the designer [Kawakubo]” as Comme Des Garçons will continue to fluster the fashion world from years to come.