A Conversation with artist Viktor Koen about the opening of his exhibition: “Dark Peculiar Toys”, September 20, 2012.
The exhibition “Dark Peculiar Toys” opens on October 4, 2012 at the United Photo Industries located in DUMBO.
Below are some of Viktor’s thoughts about it.
“Dark Peculiar Toys” is an assembly experiment were philosophies of what a toy is and is supposed to do, differ and collide. These collisions deface, brake or de-construct the toys into piles of raw materials, waiting to be re-constructed in alternative ways, without instructions or the memory of their origins and function. Especially with no consideration for the original creators intentions. Curiously they brake down not only to their essential parts but to details of character and spirit – if they ever possessed any. They only retain colors, shapes and the scars inflicted by their previous owners. Scars that separate them from their assembly line identical multiples and make them one of the kind.
These tragic action figures are stuck between their new condition and the reality of their past. They link older and contemporary prototypes of heroism or role playing, by combining traditional symbols in unorthodox ways. Their appeal lies solely in the tendency children (of any age) have to cannibalize existing objects in order to fuse their own. These creations come at odds with their carefully planed origins and brake gender and age molds by defying children experts, focus groups and sales projections. The newly assembled toys, though somewhat dramatic and traumatic due to their darkness, evoke our emotions and form a connection with us, by taking a place in our personal memories. Not in a “lost childhood blah, blah, blah” way – but as images that communicate nostalgia and joy, or the nostalgia of joy.
These emotions also dominated the process of putting them together. I photographed toys and objects that I collected through the years and travels, some of them parts of my personal childhood, and then mixed and matched them for hours. While this was a different form of play, the magic was the same.