EDINBURGH.- The Fruitmarket Gallery
s 2010 winter exhibition brings together major sculptures and projections by seven internationally significant artists from Britain and the United States in an exploration of what curator David Hopkins terms the dark poetics of childhood.
Centred on the work of British and American artists who came to prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s, the exhibition sets in dialogue a number of seminal works on the theme of toys, childhood, child development and the cultural conditioning of children.
The exhibition sets up a series of conversations between the objects on display in order to explore a number of interconnected themes: Jeff Koons celebrations of kiddy- kitsch are set against Mike Kelleys and Louise Bourgeois evocations of more sinister or abusive parent-child relations; Susan Hillers anthropologically-inflected exploration of the aggression underpinning the social conditioning of children is placed in counterpoint to Paul McCarthys monstrous consumerist/sexual hybrids and Robert Gobers playpen is seen alongside Helen Chadwicks objects which deal with her early adaptive response to playthings.
The exhibition seeks to look at the art of the 1980s and early 1990s art in a new way.
The usual critical contexts informing art of this period (postmodernism, post-conceptualism, identity politics) are de-emphasised, and questions about attitudes to childhood, to play and to social conditioning understood via post-surrealist fantasy idioms are brought into prominence. The show aims to be playful (on one level, it possesses something of the ambience of a toy-shop or toy museum) but the emphasis is ultimately on a much darker understanding of childhood.