When We Were Artists

Hubby and I are determined to get our basement under control over the coming weeks. We had our first day of clean-up last weekend, in which a truck load of junk was hauled to the dump and a car load of reusable stuff awaits a trip to the thrift store. Yes, success! Still a lot more to tackle, but starting this process felt great.

Even better were some of the treasures that were rediscovered down there, including these, bags of baby dolls dressed in Corporate Reich uniforms. A blast from our art school past! Hubby and I traveled from thrift store to thrift store to find all these dolls. Then we designed & silk screened the fabric, and cut & sewed each individual uniform.

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

Corporate Reich Baby Doll Uniforms ~ by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

Good thing I hang onto to stuff, because I managed to find a copy of our artist statement in one of my old sketchbooks. It’s full of terms like “globalization”, “dehumanization”, “corporate dream”, “corporate ladder”, and “maximum conformity”. Basically the baby dolls represented children & innocence, which are burned to fuel the “corporate dream”, in a world where human power is a natural resource, and so often mistreated. (I can send you a full copy of our statement, just leave a comment).

I dug through our old photos and found pictures from the exhibition itself, entitled Our Little Children, which was held in February 2004 at the University of Calgary’s Little Gallery. Yes over a decade ago, and we still have all the dolls lingering in our lives (but no for much longer)

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

The dolls that we dressed in uniforms were put into a pile on the gallery floor. Other dolls, without uniforms, were burned & dirtied with charcoal and then suspended from the ceiling to act as burnt embers. Benches were set up and viewers were invited to sit around the crackling “campfire”.

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

Besides the installation in the gallery, we put a lot of effort into the other details, along with much help from friends & family. The invites for the show were actually matchbooks. We purchased boxes of blank ones and spent a weekend sticking our own custom stickers to them and signing our names to the inside. These were handed out and left around town.

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

I also sewed Marcus and I matching outfits for the opening of the show using leftover fabric from the baby doll uniforms; a skirt for me and I shirt for him. It’s hard to believe we were that cool! But art school does that to you. My brother Aaron also silk screened our Corporate Reich logo onto t-shirts, which we wore into the ground. In fact, hubby still wears his as a “work-shirt” (out in the gardens & on the farm).

The entire project was actually quite a large undertaking, when you consider that this wasn’t done for a class, but just because we thought it would be “awesome” to do an art show together. Ahhh… young love. Our good friend said to me at the time, “if you two can survive this project together, not kill each other, you’ll be together for good.” Looks like he was right. Good thing too, because hubby and I have a tendency to take on big projects, like starting our farm business.

As for the baby dolls sitting in our basement, they are waiting for the snowstorm craziness to stop in Calgary & then they will be dropped back off at the thrift store. Cycle of a doll’s life, I guess.

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2 thoughts on “When We Were Artists

  1. Great story. Even though cleaning out the basement is hard work there are some bright spots along the way eh? Your own history?
    We have been doing the same thing – our New Year’s resolution – decluttering our house. We haven’t made it to the basement yet, but, I know there is a whole series of Star Trek TNG on VHS hidden in the back of the storage under the stairs…who knows what else?
    Keep us updated on other treasures you find.

    1. Oh goodness, it is an adventure! Our whole house could use a bit of decluttering, but the basement is by far the worst & causes us the most stress. Hence, tackling it first. I finally parted with all our VHS and such when we did some home renos a year and half ago. Can’t wait to see what else we dig out of the basement, and more importantly, what else leaves our house! Good luck with your house decluttering!

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