Not long ago I had the chance to stop by Design Exchange and check out their latest exhibition “This Is Not A Toy”, curated by John Wee Tom, DX Associate Curator Sara Nickleson and Guest Curator Pharrell Williams. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, seeing as the works exhibited were in majority, ultra design toys. I was a little confused on how they were going to be displayed and interpreted as works of art and was pleasantly surprised!
Based loosely around the concept presented in Rene Magrittes “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, the show explores the idea of a toy not only as a functional and aesthetic object but as an art or design object that is representative of it’s own culture.
We see familiar faces from the music industry such as The Beatles, Daft Punk and The Gorillaz as well as well-known pop culture and politics personalities ranging from Mao Zedong to Mickey Mouse rendered in bright, plastic sculptures and plushy collector toys.
What I found interesting was the way in which these designer toys were re-contextualized in a meticulously curated space: sparking enthusiasm in viewers at the recognition of popular characters and slight shock in realizing a slightly sexual, gory or bizarre representation.
Overall, “This is Not a Toy” was a pleasure to attend, and I definitely recommend checking it out! The exhibition will be up until May 19th and you can buy tickets at Design Exchange for approximately $16 if you’re a student. It definitely makes you reminiscence those childhood years of cartoons and Pokemon cards.