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  • Barbara Kužnik

Toys as a reflection of the reality

The Austrian-Slovenian Artist Marko Lipuš came to Brussels this week with his work of art "Toys".

An exhibition that will make you feel like you have been stopped and are not allowed to continue.

Sounds familiar?

Confrontation with soldiers or just with people with no real heart?

In this case, you find yourself on the wrong side!

The observer is confronted with scary images of soldiers, that are pointing directly towards him.

If you take a photo, the flash makes you feel as you would be shot.

The message of this exhibition is much stronger today than it was in 2009 when he made this series of warrior toys as portraits of the soldiers.

The fact that these images are based on realistically shaped dolls, toys we can buy on the internet, makes the absence of the human basis even more obvious.

​Soldiers as depersonalised members of an imperial state.

Fearless and heartless presentation of force.

To go even further, their pure essence has been deliberately damaged. It is a special technique the artist uses by scratching the negative of the photos which gives a kind of authentic glimpse of the perfect plastic figures.

He manipulates this perception to that point that the spectator asks himself whether these images are real.

But is this the statement the artist wanted to make?

"It is always the context that gives a political message to the exhibition", said Lipuš, "not the photos themselves."

The artist hopes, that people will do some thinking about the exhibition, but at the same time he is afraid, that today art has no definite impact on the politics.

But it is worth to try!

This exhibition is taking place in the heart of Europe, at the European Parliament, in an open space called "Distribution" on the 3rd floor of the EP in Brussels.


Right place at the right time?

He has been invited to the European Parliament by Angelika Mlinar, an Austrian MEP, who is, like himself, of a Slovenian origin.

Lipuš, an artist of a Slovenian minority in Austria, represents both sides of the Austrian border.

Borders as a symbol.

We hear that Europe has two to four more weeks before its founding principles will break down (Mark Rutte). Pessimism is spreading due to the inability of European leaders to restore control over external borders and manage the refugee crisis. Populists rejoice, pushing an anti-refugee, anti-liberal, anti-Muslim agenda.(ESI)

Border controls have been established again, razor wired fences are rising and walls of division are growing in the heads of the European citizens.

A crisis of values, that starts with the question on which side of the fence are we?

At the opening of the exhibition at the European Parliament I talked with Marko Lipuš about the message of the exhibition.

In Slovenian language, we both speak and understand, even though we come from different sides of the razor wired border.

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