re:place contemporary art in derbyshire

    Back from a successful showing in Brighton, the silicone boys continue to

    move to different spaces and places, generating ever-shifting sets 

    of associations for the viewer to contemplate.

    In Ilkeston as part of re:place, a county-wide programme of  contemporary

    art commissions and exhibitions, the silicone boys are temporarily sited in

    two locations during Ilkeston Festival. Both were selected for the potential

    to work serendipitously with the sculptural forms.

     In the Erewash Museum twenty brightly coloured silicone children’s heads,

     similar in colour to jelly baby sweets, swamp the interior of a faithfully

     recreated 1950’s grocery shop. The characteristics of the faces present an

     idealised archetype and are redolent of an illustration from an ‘old school’ 

     human and personal kind of world, before global consumerism      

     dominated  the high street. Both the head forms and the shop reflect a

     different era, and perhaps a more optimistic world.

     In this situation the silicone boys contrast a sense of belonging - through

     the  kids being quite literally in the sweet shop - with a sense of loss and

     displacement, through the materials, the inanimate facial expressions and

     the play-off between the idealised 1950’s and the resolutely contemporary

     sculptural forms. The heads balance visual playfulness with immobility and

     awkwardness, appearing as if buried from the shoulders down. They are

     stuck in a scrum at floor level and unable to access the confectionery.

     Like  much in life the sweets are on offer, but beyond reach.

     In the second location, a working milliners shop, the silicone boys lurk and

     nestle amongst a sea of immaculately hand crafted women’s hats, made in

     situ by the proprietors. The shop, Margaret Anne, at 160 Bath Street,

     stands as beacon of skilled trade and economic autonomy in an era of

     children’s novel. The ‘shop’ suggests and evokes the memory of a more           

     faceless retail parks. The forms seem curiously at home amongst the ornamental

     business of the hat shop.  The heads and hats enjoy a playful disconnection

     in terms of scale, and wider associations, between childhood and adult adornment,

     yet they share an interesting parallel in terms of hand crafted production within

     an apparently manufactured aesthetic, and of course the more obvious      

     connection between hats and heads.

                installation viewing dates:

               Margaret Anne        DE7 8FH     19/06/2010 - 1/07/2010

                                                     open   mon/tue/thur/fri/sat   9 - 3.45

               Erewash Museum     DE7 5JA     3/07/2010 - 21/07/2010

                                                     open   tue/thur/fri/sat          10 - 4

             Funded by Arts Council England, the silicone boys has been shown at 20-21

             arts centre, RED gallery Hull, SEAS international, Skegness and Brighton

             University Gallery as part of ‘Occidental Dimension’.

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