Curated by Asha Ganpat, “Gashapon” is “unlike the traditional white cube space as a vehicle for the sensual consumption of art. Instead the toy vending machines featured in Gashapon specially commodify capsuled works, modifying the viewers' experiences and expectations. In this show, the artists' independent concepts are tangled with new elements of desire, ownership, accessibility, tangibility, and perhaps even jealousy. The machines’ random nature of interactive distribution highlights these elements.
‘Gashapon’ is the Japan-originated term for these types of machines, used internationally. It is an onomatopoeia for the turning of the crank - gasha, and the drop of the ball - pon. Gashapon raises the question: what limitations may we abandon when the art is consumed through more than the eyes? Added here are both touch and possession. The desire to be closer to the work is slaked.
Possession comes at random; the fate of a machine selecting the prize. Do you inspect long before hatching the art from its habitat? In hand it is a charm, a relic, a talisman, a little thing of power to behold, and now it is yours, yours, yours alone! Is it something to be kept, a petite hitchhiker in pocket? Will it be stowed like a secret, never exposed or shared? Will you need more? A whole set for a Lilliputian menagerie? Such relationships and possibilities are inherent to the essence of Gashapon's ludic interactivity. It is a most extraordinary stage for indulgence.
The vending machine makes for sheer ease of accessibility and ownership where one single token affords the little greedy pleasure, the claiming of a sliver of beauty. These works are priced independent of value, cultural or monetary, to promote something akin to fandom ownership and collection. Here, every viewer may indulge and leave with one piece from each machine in the exhibition, six little icons safe in their cases."
Featured artists: Gwen Charles, Montclair; Eileen Ferara, Jersey City; Ellen Some Hanauer, Livingston; Kathleen Heron, Orange; Donna Conklin King, Roseland; and Ann Lepore, Mahwah.
The Creativity Caravan, 28 South Fullerton Avenue, will host a reception for the public to meet the artists on Small Business Saturday, November 24 from 6 - 8 PM. It is a free event; light refreshments will be served. The exhibit will be on display through December 22.