10 February 2014

The IMA Brisbane's Playtime Exhibition

Images: Jonathan Rae
Words: Saskia Edwards

It has been said that a happy childhood is the worst preparation for life. And perhaps that’s true. Childhood can be traumatic. Just ask anyone who mistook Animal Farm for a kid’s cartoon. But the fear and angst can often be a necessary part of development.

When you enter the IMA’s Playtime exhibition there’s a distinct warning that it’s not for children. While many of the artworks may ostensibly seem infantile, they’re laced with poignant and sometimes distressing meanings – abandonment, abuse and violence.

On entry are Jenny Watson’s innocent paintings. But directly opposing this are the graphic and vulgar illustrations by Peter Robinson. The contrast serves to highlight a point: perhaps only through a child-like guise can we truly see that the world often isn’t the picturesque illusion of our childhood.

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