קטלוג תערוכת העפיפונים - page 203

201
Liberty Birds
ציפורי חירות
Liberty birds
– artistic kites
This exhibit displays traditional paper birds alongside those
created by contemporary artists. Mixing them may seem
surprising, especially in the West where kites have always
been regarded as simple children’s toys. Yet, the history of
artistic kites begins in the early 20
th
century with the Avant-
garde artists. These “toys” relate to the Bauhaus adventure
of the 1920s, and later, in the 1950s to designers Charles
and Ray Eames. It is only since the 1970s, with artists
such as Jackie Matisse and Curt Asker, whose works are
exhibited here, that kites began to be recognized as true
works of art.
The Avant-garde movement artists showed a great deal
of interest in childhood, and in the relationship between
games, toys, and art. They created toys for children which
are now displayed in museums: the marionettes made by
Paul Klee, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, or Otto Morach, the horse
Picasso constructed for his own children, the ship that can
be assembled from blocks produced by Alma Siedhoff-
Busher, the Noah’s Arks by André Héllé or by Tono, the
animals that could be transformed by Joaquín Torres-
García, and many others.
A less familiar aspect is the influence of 19
th
century
toys on the Avant-garde movements. In the 19
th
century,
pedagogues inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, stressed
the importance of games and toys in children’s education,
and created the first boxes of blocks, the first mosaics,
and the first construction games for educational purposes.
These toys were widely distributed by toy manufacturers
and had a decisive influence at the end of the 19
th
century
and early 20
th
century on the formation of the perception
children acquired. This may explain the attraction artists of
that generation felt for basic structures. An example can
be found in the article “Points, Lines, Plans”, by Wassily
Kandinsky.
However, artists in the early 1900s were also influenced
by folk toys. For example, the ‘Siurells’, the small clay
whistles from Majorca which the artist Miro played with
when he was a child; he kept them in his studio throughout
his life and said they had an impact on several of his
sculptures. Alexander Calder also drew inspiration from the
toys he had manipulated in childhood. In addition, Calder
is emblematic of the relationship between games, toys and
art, not only because he regards his toys as equal to his
other artistic oeuvre, but also because he appears in the
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