NOT AN ARTIST is quite a mysterious name for an art exhibit, although it does have an explanation. The collective art show currently on display at the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles and organized in collaboration with the Istituto Europeo di Design based in Italy gives us a playful and smart perspective on the role of toy designers in the contemporary art scene.
According to the show curator Igor Zanti, toy designing is a blend of sculpture, product design and merchandising with mixed inspiration. On the one hand, there is the influence of street art and the visual culture of the American West Coast that has had a prolific season since the 70’s, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco. On the other hand, it has a strong relationship with the manga universe and other Asian subcultures which developed between Japan and Korea leading to the affirmation of artists such as Takashi Murakami, among others.
The choice of artists and designers for the exhibition clearly depicts the connection between different disciplines. In fact, the protagonists of the show offer an overview of what it means to design toys and the cultural implications of their artistic production.
The exhibit features works of Fidia Falaschetti that have “a strongly new pop inspiration”; the whimsical tokidoki lifestyle brand by Simone Legno, ranging from clothing to furnishing; the hybrid work of Massimo Giacon, with his fun representation of a nativity and J. Led with his punk toy rabbits.
On view until September 20, 2018 at the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles.
(Featured photo: Massimo Giacon with his works Il sonno della ragione genera comics and Flesh Eating Superheroes; photos by Massimiliano Costantini)