Arty 19:

Adulthood is hell
said HP Lovecraft.

And as if in response to this, all around us artists and curators are examining childhood and using their experiences and observations as a basis for their work.

Marina Warner has just curated a show called Only Make-Believe at Compton Verney that traces the confluence of art and play in modern art and relates it to child psychology and the growing interest in children’s social history.

At the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood there is an exhibition called Think +Wonder, Wonder + Think. The show is hidden amongst the museum’s exhibits and contains work by 20 artists in response to the museum’s collection. Chantal Joffe shows paintings of a sulky looking little girl The Three Faces of Moll, Katherine Tulloh shows a weird animatronic sculpture made of delicate bits and pieces and glass eyes, Lali Chetwynd shows a whole group of brightly coloured animals with fake fur.

Artists everywhere are mutating toys, painting sinister looking kids and depicting bleak childhood haunts. This device of messing with innocence induces what Freud called the unheimleich. An uncomfortable feeling that things are not as they should be. So adulthood may well be hell but all is not rosy in the enchanted land of childhood either.

This issue of Arty looks at children and childhood from all sides, going from the concerns of an artist/parent (Roger Dikes) to how to scoubidou (Sarah Doyle).
The next issue of Arty will appear in August 2005 and will tackle England, it will also be the last in our current format and will be accompanied by a show at the Tea Building. Check out this site for more details

Cathy Lomax

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