Infantile Edinburgh’s art world

From November 19th Edinburgh’s art scene will be playing with toys and child-related objects, as part of the next major exhibition at the Fruitmarket gallery, entitled ‘Childish Things’.

The exhibition examines the work of internationally significant American and British artists, such as: Louise Bourgeois, Susan Hiller, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Helen Chadwick, Mike Kelley and Robert Gober.

The show is curated by David Hopkins, professor of Art History at the university of Glasgow, the second such collaboration Hopkins, also a renowned writer and authority on dada and surrealism, has been involved in. The gallery will open next Friday at 6.30pm with a curator’s conversation with Fiona Bradley, the Director of the The Fruitmarket Gallery.

The show will explore the interconnected set of themes coming from each of the artists by setting up a dialogue between the objects on display. The art of the 1980s and early 1990s is being given a new and fresh examination as the exhibition has its origins in dada and surrealism. Even though there is no dada or surrealist art, Childish Things focuses on a post-dada interest in toys.

The curator plays with the notion of ‘dark poetics’ in childhood by carefully choosing relevant work by each of the artists which talk about childhood related anxieties. The exhibition aims to be playful in coming across as a toy shop or toy museum, but at the same time brings some major works that are packed with complex meanings and reflect Hopkin’s ideas of childhood. Childish Things is also the title of Hopkin’s new book, to be purchased in gallery’s shop.

The exhibition will include a variety of talks and events such as a talk by Susan Hiller on November 24th and the Playpen Poetry Performance on December 7th. On the 11th and the 12th of December the audience will be able to participate in the Youth Taster Sculpture Workshop, during which artist Gemma Coyle will encourage the crowd  to look at the relation between toys and sculpture.