Toy and Dismantle


Toy and Dismantle launched only partially constructed on the opening night with a giant children’s birthday party and evolved into a series of actions and experiences over a month long period of transformation. Participants were invited to become the creators and destroyers of art, in a process that only revealed it’s potential through a chain of activity spanning four weeks.

Seeking to re-invent Angel Row Gallery by disrupting the continuity of the space, Reactor converted the space into an ‘art work site’ where works were made, broken, fixed and replaced. Through this constant process of activity and change Reactor encouraged visitors to abandon their pre-conceptions of the gallery space and re-assess their relationship with the site by investigating activities such as a scaffolding ‘theatre’, radio-controlled paint cars, audio-guide tours and a fairground-like ‘Smash It Up’ stall. The event climaxed in a ritualistic ‘dismantling’ ceremony where visitors were invited to take home the pieces of the art.

There's that familiar Reactor combination of demand for compliance and playfulness, a bit like a friendly Labrador puppy that comes running up to you with a little stick of dynamite in its mouth.

The fact that the art is never finished in any conventional sense tends to infiltrate the gallery with the irreverent excitement of the playground.

There’s a party going on at Nottingham’s Angel Row Gallery tonight. Or is it really an art-circus, since the events include rock throwing, toy car painting, puppets and a mass tooting of toy musical instruments?

But history is junk at Toy and Dismantle. The processes of the entire event and the rituals of the final evening ask questions about the nature of meaning and value and the effect of context on these.

Toy and Dismantle was commissioned by Angel Row Gallery (Nottingham - UK) in 2003 and was supported by Arts Council England.