the silicone boys re:place

tom hackett sculpture

site intervention in the erewash museum

Curated by re:place, the silicone boys are temporarily sited inthe Erewash Museum during Ilkeston Festival. Twenty brightly coloured silicone children’s heads, similar in colour to jelly baby sweets, swamp the interior of a faithfully recreated 1950’s grocery shop.

The characteristics of the faces present an idealised archetype and are redolent of an illustration from an 'oldschool’ children’s novel. The ‘shop’ suggests and evokes the memory of a more human and personal kind of world, before global consumerism dominated thehigh street. Both the head forms and the shop reflect a different era, and perhaps a more optimistic world.

In this situation the silicone boys contrast a sense of belonging,through the kids being quite literally in the sweet shop, with a sense of loss and displacement, through the materials, the in-animate facial expressions and the play-off between the idealised 1950’s and the resolutely contemporary sculptural forms. The heads balance visual playfulness with immobility and awkwardness, appearing as if buried from the shoulders down. They are stuck in a scrum at floor level and unable to access the confectionery. Like much in life the sweets are on offer, but beyond reach.