Shane Brox had an exhibition at Den Gamle By (The Old Town) this Christmas.
Being one of my favourite places in Aarhus, this open-air village museum with its historical buildings offers a fitting frame to Mr Brox' extra-ordinary glue-gun creations and arrangements of toys.
Apparently, suitcases full of beautiful old toys were lend to him by the museum to be arranged in his very individual way.
The display is amazing, it tells stories wherever you look. There is humour and irony and a critical view not only on urban living in particular but on life in general, that you can perceive if you look a little closer.
The following photograph on the right, to me is like a scene from Desperate Housewives, a bit plastic and surreal, the doll is doing her gardening, just like Bree van de Kamp.
In 2009, I spent Christmas in Denmark and that was when I first saw Shane Brox' childrens' Christmas program 'Shanes Verden' (Shane's World) on Danish TV. I felt truly inspired then and now I still admire the wonderful mix of toys of all different types, sizes and makes - toys made from tin, plastic, wood, knitted, sewn or glued - all blended together to tell stories and populate a magical and highly imaginative landscape.
Here is a trailer of 'Shanes Verden':
What I find so inspiring is that Shane Brox creates characters and toys from everyday objects (egg boxes, tetra paks, cardboard, etc.) that would usually end up in the bin. He certainly is not afraid of kitsch, but I think this lends his cardboard friends their special charm and an edge that makes them memorable and honestly, it is amazing to watch how he can fix together just about anything with a glue gun!
So I am a Shane Brox fan!
His work has been all over the shops this Christmas, and I am hoping that although there was a Shane Brox Advent calendar, one could buy and DIY kits and workshops one could attend, that the increasing popularity of his work will not turn his great ideas mainstream.
Mio, Kenn and I play with a huge Sammelsurium (a disordered and unsystematic collection) of objects and toys, too and love it. You can create an imaginative united world where everything finds its place!
As I am talking about Christmas magic, I have to mention also a long lived tradition in my house.
I am a real fan of Christmas stories and winter fairy tales and every year I watch Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel (Three wishes for Cinderella).
My very best friend from school days gave it to me on DVD, so although I haven't lived in Germany for a very long time, I don't have to miss out!
Thanks, Karin, you are the best!
Although from 1973, this film has aged incredibly well and I probably have watched it since I was 7 years old, every year, every Christmas. I guess, I am hopelessly romantic, but this film just propels me into this dream world and I can't think of anything more magic than galloping on a white horse through the snow and forest :)
It also makes me think of a naughty horse, I used to ride in London - I miss you, Jude!
This trailer is part two of the film, but it is the one with the horse, the snow and the forest:)
I am already looking forward to watching it next year!