Teddy bears are cute reminders of our now hazy childhood. They are soft, cuddly and remind us of a time when things were simpler. Kent Rogowski, however, sees them as malleable pieces of art. A collection of photographs entitled “Bears” by Rogowski illustrates the perverse idea of turning a teddy bear inside out and re-stuffing it. The result of such a project is fascination coupled with a sense of violation of ones childhood. Why is the teddy bear, a figure of innocence and youth, made into a hideous being? It isn’t as hideous as one would think. The artist’s purpose is to get to the core of what the teddy bear means to us by juxtaposing our own notions of it against its glaring deconstruction.
According to his mission statement on his website, Rogowski set out to highlight the process of manufacturing cuteness and childhood joy. The bear is a metaphor for the ignorant blissfulness of being a youth but it also captures how that metaphor is manufactured. By turning the bear inside out, illustrating the quirks and defects that are normally hidden, it then becomes a standout piece rather than one straight off the manufacturing line. The bear appears hideous because it steps outside the realm of normalcy but, in believing it is acting as a violation of our ideas of childhood, what does the bear’s re-stuffing say about us, our core?
You would have to find out for yourself. You can peruse his collection here.
Written By: Sarah MacDonald