Celia Johnson: Bauhaus Influences from Celia Johnson on Vimeo.
In early 2020, I had a total of 19 works on view in two significant exhibitions opening in my state of North Carolina: North Carolina Women Abstract Painters, a survey of five painters in North Carolina, and Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting, a selective overview of 25 painters with active practices in North Carolina. I was honored to be included in both exhibitions.
Within 2 weeks of opening, both exhibitions closed, leaving all our work on the walls. Curators began to pivot, offering online resources to their members/collectors and reached out to the participating artists requesting content, preferably videos.
I created this video in response: to support my work, thereby hopefully supporting those institutions which were supporting me.
In my video I explore a building game of toy blocks created by Bauhaus artist Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, and the toy's influence on my work.
Note: In his 1853 essay “Morale du joujou” (The Ethic of Toys), Charles Baudelaire describes how toys in a child’s hands, become ‘actors in the great drama of life’ - Baudelaire’s infant who takes the toy apart in order to locate its “soul”.
—Yve-Alan Bois, Painting as Model, 1990
“It follows therefore that a beautiful painting is like a beautiful toy: a painting that catches the eye, that shines and dazzles, a painting that forces you to notice it. Morale du joujou brings us back to the genesis of aesthetic emotion. This much, at least, we should no longer doubt.”
—Philippe Bonnefis, Child’s Play: Baudelaire’s Morale du joujou, 1996