The Little Artists

By using childrens toys as a medium, The Little Artists subtly express the absurdity of the "grand" artistic gestures that have been made by 20th century artists such as Duchamp and Hirst. - Sean Hall, Senior Lecturer Goldsmiths


The Little Artists' work to date has been an exploration of the iconic, a trawling through recent art history in an attempt at understanding the significance of the art work and the culture that creates it. Playful and irreverent but created with a genuine affection, their work while accessible in it’s use of material and subject matter explores the more complex issues of process, identity, authorship, branding and art’s relationship to consumerism and product.

John Cake and Darren Neave, have worked as a partnership since 1996 under the banner of The Little Artists in an attempt to make clear the status of artist as brand and artwork as merchandise. Using a methodology akin to Gilbert and George but with the injection of advertising techniques - they use the colours of blue and orange as a short hand for identity and recognition. Their use of existing materials, while linked to the ready-made is not an attempt to create something new, devoid of original meaning but a way of actively incorporating the already existing history of a brand into their own.

Throughout August, The Little Artists have set up office at Another Roadside Attraction Gallery to research Martin Kippenberger and his Büro in Berlin in their continued exploration of contemporary art production. Through written articles and documentation, contact with associates and by using internet social networks they plan to draw up a picture of the artist, which will be part myth and part fact. On each article, letter, email or document they plan to replace references to Kippenberger with a sticker of a Smurf (German: Schlumpf). This universally recognizable image by Belgian cartoonist Peyo is used as a means of replacing one signifier for another.

Like much of their work the use of the Smurf references childhood and how even in our formative years we are subjected to a comodification of culture through trade marked brands and product tie ins. Kippenberger becomes both producer and product, his brand easily replaced by that of another. Again with references to childhood play, the research will result in a mind map of Kippenberger knowledge, using Scalextric. This sprawling network will attempt to identify with the actions, strategies and mythology of Kippenberger whilst also alluding to his planned network of imaginary subway stations from around the world.

About the Artists
Recent solo exhibitions include Hive Gallery, South Yorkshire, The Walker Gallery, Liverpool and Kulczyk Foundation, Poznan. Forthcoming solo shows include Galerie Markus Winter in Berlin, and 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe in 2009. Group shows have included; Space/Galerie Priestor, Bratislava (curated by Juraj Carny), Galerie Good Friday, Brussels, Krinzinger, Vienna and The Kunsthall, Bergen(curated by Dr Sabine Dorscheid). They recently took part in the first Tatton Park Biennial in May - September 2008, curated by Danielle Arnaud and Jordan Kaplan from the commissioning group Parabola.
The Little Artists


Event Title: The Little Artists
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