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Real Toy Story on show

By Wu Ni in Shanghai ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-02-09 08:40:31

Real Toy Story on show

Portraits of workers who produce the toys are embedded in the installations on show. Wu Ni / China Daily

Real Toy Story on show
Shattering a stereotype
Real Toy Story on show
Genes in her photos
About 20,000 used plastic toys have taken up a whole wall of K11 Art Mall, a shopping mall in Shanghai with abundant luxury brands and artistic works on display.

At first glance one would be dazzled by the numerous colorful toys, big and small, densely affixed to the about 10-meter-long by 4-meter-tall wall at the art village of the mall. There are famous animated characters such as Barbie and Hello Kitty as well as dolls, robots, toy cars and animals, all made in China.

The myriad of old toys do not create an effect of a lovely world, instead, they are provocative, especially as some are fragmented parts that were put together again.

Taking a closer look at the wall one would find that it is the portraits that are conspicuous - the young faces of China's nameless workers who assemble or stuff the toys at factory assembly lines. Some smile in front of the camera, some look indifferent and some are taking a nap at the jumble of toys.

The installation, called The Real Toy Story, was created by Michael Wolf, a German artist and photographer who has lived in Hong Kong since 1994 and has been greatly inspired by the social and economic changes in China.

The idea of a toy installation was inspired by his son. He collected a large bag of about 600 used plastic toys from second-hand shops and local markets in America to decorate his son's room. The young child was astonished, while Wolf noticed that every single toy he had collected was made in China.

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