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STARTGallery | Lydia Paterson and Eva Pestrin | Productivity for Play

March 14 to 24

Opening Reception: Friday March 17, 5 – 7pm

Productivity for Play is a multimedia collection examining the societal and individual abandonment of play in adulthood. The show works to encourage interactive play while also discussing the phenomenon that is ageing out of play. The work reconceptualizes the artists’ childhoods through the lens of a young adult while contemplating the external pressures to abandon play for productivity. The collection queries why action is dictated by linear measurement, that is, age, and encourages reflection of what is considered productive. By exploring the isolation of play from productivity, the artists have managed to create junctions between practicality, productivity, and play. Productivity and play are allied through acts of play that produce art - as exhibited in Teeter-totter, a childhood toy that produces drawings when disrupted. Practicality and play are united through humorous redesigns of household furniture, creating playful environments while maintaining functionality, as seen in the works of Monkey Lamp, and Lighter Lamp. Productivity for Play not only questions why we so often abandon play, it questions what we consider to be productive. Through such questions, the collection produces examples of how the criteria of productivity can be redefined and how play is productive.

Eva’s artist statement: My current practice works to deconstruct the individual through representations of universal experiences. In the case of Productivity for Play, imagery and motifs from my childhood were used to represent the commonness in both the experiences of childhood, and the abandonment of play. The hope in depicting one’s reality and condition, at its most banal, is the unveiling of the repetitive and common nature of the human experience. Such depictions of the mundane illustrate that existence isn’t a purely individual experience but rather that of a collective. The goal of deconstructing the concept of individualism is the deconstructing of separatism. Furthermore, exploring the idea of the individual questions the political and cultural function of individualism. As an artist I hope that deconstructing such notions will produce connections between the audience and myself, between the “individual” and the collective.

Lydia’s artist statement: “You’re just up there playing and having fun!” A statement often made by my grandmother when discussing my current work. I was never fond of this remark until realising that most of my work was, in fact, unintentionally focused on humour and play. Regarding the works featured in Productivity for Play, these themes of play and nostalgia are shown through reiterations of childhood objects and interactive pieces encouraging play through art. Furthermore, these works reflect the idea that making art can be playful and fun. To be playful, all that needs to be done is to play playfully. To be creative and make art, you need to create. I believe that some level of playfulness is necessary for creative action. Playfulness stimulates joy, triggering a sense of nostalgia and free, harmonious, and strong human nature that reveals itself in play. As an artist, I hope to create interactions between art, playfulness, and humour.

Image: Worms on a String, Lydia Paterson, 2022

photograph taken by Ranz Bontogon


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