Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Death By Chocolate

Artist: Yvonne Lee Schultz
Gallery: Cain Shultz Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Exhibition Dates: August 28, 2008 to October 4, 2008

Artist Statement:

"The shiny surface reflects the light, the structure of the handle piece provides a firm grip, and 100% chocolate as the main and only ingredient guarantee that guns and kids are “too sweet to kill”. At first sight, they seem authentic, due to details of screws, shadings and chasings. And once you come closer, the scent is quiet inviting.

Children don’t question the enjoyment of this sensuous toy in spite of the awful connotations. The question is if to bit or play first, where to bite, nibble or suck. Children quite simply put the run in the mouth, which is a very awkward sight for the viewer.

The kids get beaming eyes when they see them, they can barely decide between the object as toys or as a sweet. For girls it is an amusing sweet, for boys event more so. Men become curious, they study them thoroughly and admire the fine details, and women can be enticed by the sweet. It is the a little bit of the alternative chocolate figure.

Schokoguns are a tightrope walk between seriousness and play, sweet seduction and deadly power. A strange pleasure. A sweet that provides incredible fun, when one sees that it is harmless to play with despite the symbolic danger - a peace bringing activity to let a gun disappear by eating it.

It is pivotal to understand that I have given the kids NO directions.

Witnessing the play with the chocolates guns, it is remarkable how much influence the media has on the young actors. The kids used their own imagination for playing and re-enacting scenes they know from TV, movies, news and magazines: from special operations by police and military to scenes from James Bond, Western, super hero and action movies. The viewer’s perspective is influenced as well through the different interpretations and associations from their cultural surroundings.

In my observance, I thought that the children reacted very differently from each other to the guns. Some rushed towards the large amount of chocolate, which some devoured with pleasure and others with a bit of disappointment because of the bitter taste of dark chocolate. Others simply expressed joy about the toy and laughed when it melted in their hands. It seemed most difficult for the kids to decide whether they should first play with it or rather immediately bite into it.

The average life span of a chocolate gun is about 10 minutes. Then it is no longer recognizable as such because it is nibbled on from all sides. Every child searches for a different place on the gun to initiate the first bite, leaving the viewer with ones own interpretation.

This project was create in Berlin, Germany: it is up to the viewer’s imagination to picture how children would play with chocolate guns in the ghettos of South America, Africa, in cities and rural areas of the middle east, in American suburbia and cities, or in any small town where the weapon is part of a daily life."

Check the 7x7 article.

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