Toy Giants exhibition, Brussels
71 Avenue Louise (Inner square)
Photographers Daniel and Geo Fuchs have a penchant for shooting unusual subjects. Tombstone portraits. Dutch transsexuals. Close-ups of Louise Bourgeois’s eyes. Murder weapons. The backs of people’s heads. A dead chicken lying supine on the road.
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The couple’s latest exhibition ToyGiants tackles the surreal reality of children’s toys. Here, the images are magnified in a three-part series of formal portraits; magnified, in fact, to the point that the toys take on a disturbingly human dimension.
And so, the first part ‘Portraits’ reveals, beneath the waxy gloss, Batman’s troubled frown, Bruce Willis’s weary heroism and Che’s stoic glance. Outgoing American president George W. Bush is shown in fighter pilot fatigues complete with an arsenal of accessories. The fact that Dubya is still in his original packaging is a hint that a political message is being telegraphed but the intention is slippery, perhaps deliberately so.
The other two parts of the exhibition are less elusive. ‘Productions’ assembles subversive tableaus such as Andy Warhol on a hospital stretcher borne by characters from Planet of the Apes (pictured top); while the last part of the triptych ‘Setting Up’ is the toy world’s equivalent of an Alex Ross convocation of iconic names – like the star-studded line up of Ultraman, Astroboy, Godzilla, Doraemon and the Transformers in the portrait ‘Japan Family’(pictured above).