Diana Farfán – The Toy Republic and The Dream Life of Broken Toys

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June 16 – July 31, 2011

A two-part exhibition of ceramic sculpture by Diana Farfán will open June 16 at 701 Center for Contemporary Art and run through July 31. The Toy Republic installation consists of works Farfán created while in residence at 701 CCA. The Dream Life of Broken Toys is Farfán’s MFA thesis work.

The opening reception is June 16, 2011 from 7-9 pm, with Colombian food by Linda Phillips Catering and a specialty drink, inspired by South America, by Scott Hall of Bone-In Artisan BBQ on Wheels. Admission is free to 701 CCA members, with a $5 suggested donation for non-members.

A special gallery talk at 6pm will be held for those who take part in a unique sponsorship* opportunity. See below for details!

Diana Farfán is known for her surrealistic ceramic toys, marionettes, puppets and dolls. Her pieces illustrate her observations about our ambivalent human condition – manipulated, fragile, impotent, vulnerable and isolated – countered by the ability to find hope.

The Toy Republic, Farfán explains, is “my perception of the world as a child, when I imagined a three-tiered hierarchy of social order. In my vision, there were rulers who issued commands from high altars, dutiful servants sitting in oversized chairs who enforced those orders and, at the bottom of society, the vulnerable masses constantly searching for the place where they belong. This is a portrait of an imaginary nation.” She welcomes the public to participate in the life of her nation, picturing themselves as one of the characters and thinking about their role in society, their influence on the people around them and the impact of power on all of us.

The idea for The Dream Life of Broken Toys began when a young boy showed Farfán an old toy plane he had repaired and referred to it as “a powerful sky-flier.” Farfán says of the occasion: “That day I realized that a broken toy is not necessarily an obstacle to play; rather, it is possibility for creativity, for imagining new ways of playing.” She continues: “The years have passed swiftly, but still this single memory persists for me. If only it was possible to turn back time and rebuild toys, not only theirs but also my own, then the lives and dreams of many, many toys might be renewed.”

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Diana Farfán received her BFA at the National University of Colombia and her MFA in Ceramics at the University of South Carolina. Her 2D and 3D works have been shown and received awards in a number of exhibitions in places that include Colombia, the United States and Taiwan.

GALLERY HOURS DURING EXHIBITION:
Wed:11am – 8am, Thur: 11am – 5pm, Fri: 11am – 5pm, Sat: 9am-5pm, Sun: 1pm- 5pm

More on The Toy Republic:

The Rulers
Three ceramic busts on tall steel rolling chairs will form the first group. Their hands will point in different directions to symbolize political, military and religious powers. Their positions are irrevocable and they give commands that others need to follow.

The Bureaucrats
The Bureaucrats will be formed by four ceramic figures resting on tall steel rolling chairs. This signifies their vulnerable hierarchy and range of influence. The poses of the torsos and the expression on the faces represent politicians during discourse. Dramatic lighting and the arrangements of the figures in the space will reinforce the overall surrealistic quality of the exhibition.

The Toy People
Sitting on the floor, several hybrid, human/toy, ceramic pieces will be arranged to form a non-specific territory for the non-functioning toys. “The Rulers” and “The Bureaucrats” will surround “The Toy People” who will appear to be disoriented amongst so many opposing commands. Lost, overwhelmed, hopeless, and in despair, these androids have in common the same pathology, an android-like and repetitive response to the world around them, void of feeling and purpose.

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Diana Farfán received her BFA at the National University of Colombia and her MFA in Ceramics at the University of South Carolina. Her 2D and 3D works have been shown and awarded in a number of exhibitions in places including Colombia, the US, and Taiwan.

Staring at Myself - Ceramic sculpture. Porcelain, glaze, mixed mediaStaring at Myself
Personal Artist Web site: Diana Farfán.

Diana is known for her surrealistic ceramic toys, marionettes, puppets and dolls. Her pieces illustrate her observations about our ambivalent human condition – manipulated, fragile, impotent, vulnerable, and isolated – countered by the ability to find hope. With her ceramic and mix media figures, she incorporates both classical and contemporary elements to represent the human body and its identity in dysfunctional modern times.

“By working with clay, I have discovered the freedom and happiness that is play – a way of being that we have forgotten. Now I realize that a broken toy is not necessarily an obstacle; rather, it is possibility for creativity, for imagining new ways of playing. And here I recognize that life is a form of play and I a toy. As such, I play with clay in order to live, to create, to build, and also to repair my own dreams and the dreams of others. My transition from Colombia to the United States and my encounter with a different culture is the journey that has allowed me to believe that it’s possible to create and live in a world of magical realism.”

Learn more about Diana Farfán and her work from these past events.

March, Thursday 31

-“A Journey From Colombia to Columbia -Ceramic Sculpture by Diana Farfán” –  Slide presentation and talk.

6-7:30 pm at South Quad hall: http://www.housing.sc.edu/virtualtour/apartment_style/south_quad/south_quad_floorplan.html

This event is organized by USC Hispanic House. This talk will be given mostly in Spanish with translation by Wendy Schneider, Spanish Professor at USC. We’re seeking to involve the USC Hispanic students and Latino community in Columbia.

Tuesday, April 12

-“Building Body Parts on Clay”  – Demonstration

11-3pm,  Rm 205, 701CCA.

-“A Journey From Colombia to Columbia -Ceramic Sculpture by Diana Farfán” – Slide presentation and talk

4:30-6pm , Olympia Rm (next to 701 CCA), 701 Whaley Street.

Tuesday, April 19

-“Building Body Parts on Clay” –  Demonstration and slide presentation

5 pm, The Art Center, 1932 Calhoun Street, call 803.545.3093.

Thursday, April 14

-“A Journey From Colombia to Columbia -Ceramic Sculpture by Diana Farfán” – Slide presentation and talk

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