Toys transport many adults back to utopian childhood
When does a thing become a meta-thing and material become immaterial.
When it transcends its material value and is embedded with meta-narratives, shifting the emphasis from physical to metaphysical.

The concept of toys as icons began while I was working in Postlinberg, Austria 2010, in a tiny ancient Lady Chapel, a place of pilgrimage where religious ceremony, ritual and paraphernalia sit side by side with a children’s grotto and famous fairytales by The Brothers Grimm. Super heroes, princesses and teddy bears transport many adults back to utopian places in their childhood, where gigantic battles were fought and won, monstrous mutants’ slayed and princesses dressed in opulent gowns.

In order to investigate this line of enquiry I put a call out, by email, for iconic toys that evoked childhood memories. The call out was well received and the diverse response which covered a wide range of ages, cultures and social experiences, provided the material to create the first installation.

This installation, first exhibited at the Contemporary Urban Centre and simultaneously at Metal, Liverpool, UK in February 2011, opened up great opportunities for discussion about the relevance of toys in our lives and how they act as triggers to precious memories.

On analysis, the influences of these toys and reflected memories, although sometimes subtle, have seeped into the everyday lives of many participants, particularly artists.

As a result of this investigation, for the exhibition The Object of Things – Toys 2, I selected seven artists from the original participants to submit a piece of their artwork which; supports their initial entry for Toys and shows a link from their childhood memory to their working practice today.

During the developing stages of childhood we absorb many aspects of life through the experiences, teaching and influences of the objects and adults that surround us. Seldom do we take the time to consider the impact this has had on our adult lives.

These works have evolved into a collaborative exchange with a group of artists in Croatia. The intention was that they would act as a catalyst, aiming to encourage and inspire a response by our Croatian partners.

April 2011, in the charming space of Studio Valeria in the centre of Medulin, Croatia the collaborative exhibition opened to reveal a moment in seven UK and seven Croatian artists’ lives were they have allowed themselves the time to reflect and consider this hypothesis.

Artists or groups from countries other than U.K or Croatia, who are interested in future collaborations with this project in their country, please contact me by email.