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144 pp; July 2011 ISBN 9781856697873 ISBN10 1856697878
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This book reveals how all kinds of visual artists (contemporary artists, street artists, photographers and even product designers) are using miniatures and miniaturized worlds in order to create startling situations and memorable images. Miniatures and miniaturized settings induce a disquieting experience of distance, and artists use it to explore very contemporary feelings of alienation, displacement and estrangement. But if seeing things from a great distance can make you feel cut off from them, and make you feel lonely and insignificant, it can also inspire awe and contemplation. The miniaturized strategy plays many tricks with the viewer. It generates distance not just in terms of space, but also in terms of time. Miniatures make us relive the world (and the viewpoint, the perspective) of our childhood, a time when the world was filled with toys and figurines. 'Miniaturized' does not necessarily mean 'idealized'. Shrinking a particular scene only seems to increase its pathos, introducing a haunting atmosphere of theatrical drama. Miniaturized worlds seethe with narrative potential, intricate story lines, suspense: car crashes, hunting accidents, walks in the woods, a mugging in the snow, a father and a son mowing the lawn, nativity scenes . The small people and small worlds depicted in this book give us a new sense of perspective, transporting us to a new dimension, an enchanted new city where people can take lifts on the back of a slug at rush hour, put up wall-sized polaroid posters, or shoot down bumblebees at the weekend.
Marc Valli is the co-founder of retail and book-selling company Magma in the UK, and of visual art magazines Graphic and Elephant. He is the author of RGB (Reviewing Graphics in Britain) as well as a large body of unpublished fiction.
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