Europa 2015 - Old Toys
TO TAK: ART AS PLAY AND PLAY AS ART
Toys have always been inseparable from their time. Oscillating between the romantic object of child's desire and always more expressed rational concept of an object defined by its educational, developmental or therapeutic purpose, modern toy is much more than the symptom which remains at margins of its time. This is in the best way illustrated by the saying „good design“ which surpasses ideological frames and the dictatorship of consumption turning the toy into a universal value which is also half a century later equally understandable and accurate.
To such kind of toys belongs also TO TAK toy by the author Ante Jakić from1965, aimed at serial production, which by its inventiveness can be compared to the top productions of Scandinavian and Italian design of the time. We are dealing here with 14 elements of turned wood of various size and shape, which can be put together actually in an unlimited number of combinations. By simple mutual insertion of small rods, annular and cone shaped parts, various animal shapes are created. From the tactile viewpoint extremely stimulating, this toy is an “open work” left to the inventiveness of those participating in play. It is designed as a structural compound of mutually connected segments with the focus on finding out possibilities to combine associations which depend entirely on the freedom of imagination.
Ludic component, sensibility for material and shape are constant in the work of the sculptor Ante Jakić (Ston, 1930 – Zagreb, 1996). Using various materials, he builds the syntax of shapes from elemental forms such as cylinder, cone, sphere or disc, by which strong imagery and associativity are created. Just mere experimenting with reducing volume, space and movement leads to the series of mobile and assemblable sculptures whose highest point is the TO TAK toy - the art as play and equally the play as art. It is therefore not accidental that its authenticity was recognised already in 1966, at the respectful international exhibition BIO 2 (The 2nd Biennial of Industrial Design) in Ljubljana where it was rewarded gold medal.
Even in the oldest graves of ancient civilizations toys were found, especially dolls. They had various functions from which we today most clearly recognise two: a wish of adults to be left in peace and a way to accommodate children to the roles and obligations in life. There is a classic division on “male” and “female” toys – those for boys who had to learn how to fight in wars and those for girls who had to know all domestic work and skills. Sometimes the adults would seize for toys, i.e. dolls for other, them understandable purposes. The dolls were also the mannequins of past centuries who travelled through courts, wearing models of luxurious clothing which then rich noble women would choose and order. Or, they used to - in relaxed art-déco positions and clothing - decorate the boudoirs and were therefore called „boudoir dolls“. Golden age of dolls is still the late 19th and the early 20th century. Numerous factories in Europe were producing their porcelain heads and their wooden, leather or composite bodies … in millions. It is thus known, if we can believe the incredible fact from literature, that the factory Armand Marseille in Köppelsdorf was producing three millions heads per year – quite probable is, however, the fact that children were able to destroy that quantity. Therefore real porcelain dolls are indeed rare and highly valued collectors’ objects, whereof those most beautiful, mainly of French origin – Jumeau, Bru, SFBJ – reach very high prices. The dolls of this „golden time“, as concerns their shaping, pass all the way from the high idealisation of historicism and Art Nouveau to the total expressionist realism. They have big eyes, brown or blue, small mouth, shut or more often open, with several visible white small teeth, very carefully tailored clothing corresponding to the fashion of that time; later, there appeared also realistic, casted, wrinkled new-borns; especially interesting is the repertoire of fanciful factory marks by which the birth of the doll can be precisely dated and located.
In our country most often found are German or Austrian dolls, especially those with the mark Armand Marseille. Of the kind is also this doll depicted on the stamp of Croatian Post. Its irresistible beauty is emphasised by the national costume it wears. It is small, old, richly embroidered, and in all details real folk costume from the region of Posavina – it could be said that this clothing is the tribute to the doll; the doll is honoured with this relict of disappearing world– a skilled and almost religious hand believed that the stitched flowers and laces would remain much better preserved on the doll than on a living being.
What is actually what draws us toward these old toys, what melts us that much, what induces such nostalgia? Our immaturity which qualifies us in the best possible way, as those who have not lost the ability to dream awake? In a toy a child conquers the future; an adult in the same toy sees all his/her futures that did not come true, all that could have come true and all that still can be dreamed about. That small piece of dream is what the Croatian Post stamp offers.
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 07.05.2015
Designer: Tomislav Vlainić, designer from Split
Printer: AKD d.o.o., Zagreb
Process: Multicolor Offset Printing
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 35.50 x 29.82 mm
Values: 4.60 / 7.60 HRK