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"Keiko Miyata || Silent Pop Violence"
2000-07-08 until 2000-08-05
97-99 Gallery
London, , UK United Kingdom

Initially a painter, Keiko Miyata began working with childrens toys when she was employed as a stuffed toy designer during her degree. From this grew a fascination with the conventions of childrens toys and their interaction with popular culture. The inspiration for her current work is diverse, ranging from more obvious globalised Japanese cultural icons, such as Pokemon and Tamagotchi, to drawings that children have sent into the magazine Shogaku 2 Nennsei, for which she writes a regular column.

Miyatas hybrid creatures vary in size and personality, from the saccharine, such as ‘super lucky’ & ‘super happy’, to her more menacing pokemon-esque series ‘age 3’. With Age 3 the Tamagotchi cyber-pet becomes no longer hyper-real and pocket-sized but demands attention, towering monster sized and saturated in colour. These ‘not so cuddly toys’, whilst negotiating an ultra-kitsch within a polemic also found in surrounding Koon’s work, also question gendering.  Her creatures are essentially asexual and reside neither in childishness nor within an adult (re-)construction of reminiscence.

Whether being surrounded by girliness is your idea of a worst nightmare or dreams come true, there is a sense in which an obvious association with the Playboy bunny-girl is negated. In the context of an exhibition these objects invert or remove all of the prosaic attributes of the “toy” defined as

1. an object designed to be played with,
2. something that is a non-functioning replica of something else,
3. any small thing of little value,
4. something small or miniature,
5. to play, fiddle, or flirt.

Miyatas creatures have travelled widely in Japan, including Tokyo Pop at Hiratsuka Museum of Art, and A*MUSE*LAND (sic)  at the Hokkaido Museum of Art, but this will be their first trip outside Japan. For Silent Pop Violence the gallery will be taken over by an array of Miyatas creatures, the focal being a bear and a rabbit, both currently age 3.

Whatever your take on game playing is, the characters of Miyata’s in the show at 97-99, beg the question as to what extent toys R  us...


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