The sculptor Tejo Philips has had a busy year. He has already shown work in De Witte Voet’s show Thirty Years as well as some distinctive wall pieces alongside his lively drawings in the recent show Beeld en Tekening. This prolific Dutch artist’s attention has shifted in the last few months, however, and the benign Iooking objects in Street Paranoia reflect his current interest in the way people are silently and surreptitiously observed.
Perhaps surprisingly, instead of using matt black glazes to suggest the sinister aspects of surveillance, these new pieces are subtle shades of pale blue. The surfaces of his sculptures are thickly encrusted with what looks like edible icing. Philips sees all of his work as both serious and humorous, and he sees this use of nursery colours as a way of making these potentially menacing objects seem not too heavy. These are nice, friendly pieces but the title of the show suggests something else is also going on. Philips wants to remind us of the covert ways in which we are being watched. The presence of his ceramic cameras at the entrance to the gallery look similar to the actual CCTV systems often found in museums and other carefully monitored spaces. In fact, Philips sees his latest pieces as a direct response to the feelings of increased uncertainty and hostility post 9/11.
  He wants to explore how anxiety and fearget turned into prejudice and misunderstanding. His large piece, which he describes as a 'verklikker' Iooks a bit like a police phone found in comic books. Whether this enigmatic fantasy object is being used to spy on innocent passers-by or whether it is encouraging us to report on other people, is deliberately left unclear.
Philips does a number of things in showing us these curious pieces. Firstly, he alerts us to the strange and appealing shapes found in what was once called 'street furniture’.
There are what look like phone bells perched on top of endearing, playful objects that could have come from the dance sequences of Disney’s Fantasia. At the same time, the handles of these solid, cartoon-like pieces stretch out like the diminutive arms of a Dr. Seuss character. This fire hydrant could come to life and start dancing on the pavement, but it might also be a trap for the unwary, a means of gathering information about what is happening under our feet.
These animated sculptures offer unique insights into the various ways we are controlled and monitored, which makes Philip's timely work both witty and serious.

  tejo philips street paranoia

Tejo Philips - Street Paranoia 1
Tejo Philips - Street Paranoia 2
Tejo Philips - Street Paranoia 3
Tejo Philips - Street Paranoia 4
Tejo Philips - Street Paranoia 5
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