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In a world often plagued by chaos and discord, Toyism stands as a testament to the transformative power of art. Through their work, they remind us of our shared humanity, of the beauty that resides within each of us, waiting to be unearthed and celebrated.

But it is not merely skill that set Toyism apart; it is the depth of emotion infused into every piece, as if each canvas were a window into their very soul. Through their art, they navigated the labyrinth of human experience, exploring the complexities of love, loss, hope, and redemption with a sincerity that touched the hearts of all who beheld their work. 

At its core, Toyism is more than just an art movement; it is a philosophy—a celebration of the playful spirit that resides within us all, waiting to be awakened and embraced.  Inspired by the innocence of childhood and the wonder of imagination, Toyism artists embark on a journey of self-discovery, exploring the depths of their subconscious and channeling their innermost thoughts and emotions into works of art that transcend the constraints of reality.

What is Toyism?

  • It isn’t Graffiti, but you can actualy see the lines of street artists already embedded in Toyism.
  • It isn’t Conceptual Art, but every produced piece has a strong concept.
  • It isn’t Fauvism, but you can trace the bright and expressive colors that you find in fauvism.
  • It isn’t Cubism, but you can see how the toyists are playing with the space and shapes.
  • It isn’t Dada, but you find a lot of suprises and funny things that are slightly different than expected.
  • It isn’t Expressionism, but you can find some indications of it in some of the paintings like the painting The Magical History Tour.
  • It isn’t Folk Art, but you can see the dots already in indigenous masks in many cultures.
The thing about Toyism is that it can be many things and still be recognizable as Toyism. Some people say art must be only in the streets, some say it must be only in galleries or museums. Toyism is doing both. It can be small and also monumental. That’s because of the nature of Toyism. If someone defines Toyism only as an art movement there would be a lot of things that could not be explained. It is an art movement, but is obiously much more then that. That’s because Toyism is an alphabet, with its own grammar. You can write simple sentences, but you can also write complex texts. That’s the knowledge behind Toyism.

The recipe is, of course, a secret ingrediënt, but the understanding comes when you realize that it IS a recipe. The paintings seems light and almost easy to make, but soon you realize how complicate it is to achieve that apparent easiness. And this is also a special ingrediënt of Toyism: an apparent easiness. When you see a magician performing, you want to see light and elegant movements, not to see him struggle with coins and game cards. You KNOW that there is a lot of work behind the tricks, but the effort of the magician aims at easiness and lightness. Like magicians performing light card tricks, the lines, shapes and dots in toyist paintings are elegant and appear easy to make. But they are not. Or maybe it is for the toyists, because for them working is like breathing, and when you are passionate about something you can move mountains. This is one lesson Toyism can teach.

The other one is that you need magic în your life, and sometimes you just have to enjoy the ride and let yourself be surround by magic. A toyist artwork can be explained in many details, but it is also surrounded by mystery. You need that, you need that sense of wonder. Toyism can do that. If you are looking for that spark of magic, just look at a toyist painting. This is the biggest secret of Toyism, and it’s hidden în plain sight. Everything else is just steril rationalisation. Who needs that? Just sit back, relax and let the magician do his tricks, so you can feel that special inner child again, the one you secretly want to be, the one that is hidding behind your social mask.

This is the third lesson Toyism can teach: look behind YOUR mask, because the urge to find whats behind those colorful masks is a hidden urge to look behind yours. You just don’t realize it. So let the toyists help you, fill you with colors and shapes, with lines and dots, and maybe you’ll catch a glimps of what’s behind YOUR mask. You can find an entire universe there, if you let the art work it’s magic.

That’s Toyism. It’s everything you can think off, and more.

Visit the Toyism Studio

Are you curious yet? You can also visit the Toyism Studio, meet some of the Toyists and experience the magic yourself. Our studio is open a few days during the week and we have an open Sunday once a month on the weekend. If you would like to attend one of the OPEN SUNDAYS, please complete the form below and receive an invitation by email.
 
The opening hours of Toyism Studio can be found on the contact page or Google. Visits are also possible by appointment during the weekend. Visits to the studio are free.

Contact form

Toyism Museum

Through the eyes of an art curator

Introduction

Although Toyism has been around since 1992, the social impact and importance is only now beginning to get recognized. This has everything to do with the prevailing zeitgeist and the realization that Toyism contains instruments that can give visual arts an anchoring point in broad social sections.

The Game

Whether it is establishing the framework, determining the playing field, coming to clear agreements, addressing offenders for their behaviour and course of action, or even worse: punishing them for unsporting conduct, it all sounds pretty severe and formal and is therefore mostly seen as a nuisance. Though still: playing together is fun, particularly if those who take part know and obey the rules. Rules are made to clarity and prevent things from getting out of hand in the heat of the moment. However more importantly: they can increase the enjoyment. In contrast to what is often believed, agreements and strict rules need not interfere with the pleasure or the creative process. Drawing the lines during the game and knowing the boundaries of the playing field, handling restrictions creatively and attempting to obtain the maximum out of yourself and the game, are things that toyists know all about. Actually, that’s what it is all about for them.

Current Events

Toyism is up to date. The movement effectively bridges the gap between high and low culture and seeks new ways to communicate with the public. This leads to an exciting search for the way in which the discussion about the social playing field by visual arts can be lifted to a higher level without losing sight of the clarity and purity of the intentions. Public participation is enforced in a playful way and generates joy in which all parties feel involved.

The Organization

Toyism is carried and propagated by a collective of internationally operating artists. The strict organizational form is the best guarantee for continuity and a guarantee for quality and global dimensions. Since the collective sticks to fixed rituals that are recorded in a secret manifesto, the ambitions can be realized on the cutting edge. Possible misunderstandings about the intentions of the movement are tackled beforehand.

The Mission

The social relevance that the toyists strive for is also the trademark of the movement. The similarities with other –isms and renewal/innovative movements include the search for alternatives and creative solutions for stalled social processes. In light of this, Toyism is an innovative movement that can force a strong positioning in the front line of contemporary visual arts. That not everyone has realized this, but it has to do with the conditioned viewing behaviour and frame of reference with which the movement is often (wrongly) confronted. That has everything to do with the emphasis in the ‘mission statement’ on the Homo Ludens. The importance of play is still not sufficiently recognized and taken seriously. The Toyists are able to remove that prejudice and break the stalemate with regard to conditioned thinking about the element of play in contemporary art. In addition, the game can be played by everyone. The democratic and universal content therefore gains importance and significance.

The Positioning

From an art-historical view, Toyism is in line with the group processes that have always played an important role in the visual arts, even in the years of progressive individualization that dominated art in the 1970s and 1980s. In search of art historical frameworks within which the work and ideas of the Toyists can be placed, references to Pop Art, New Image Painting, Keith Haring and Graffiti are inevitable. The toyists also represent the modern sense of life and make art accessible to everyone. They propagate the power of Art Unlimited by introducing their ideas and images to the general public via calendars, postcards, graphics and wall painting. In their work, the distinction between high and low culture pales. Art is for everyone; it does not discriminate and does not exclude anyone. Furthermore, there is a strong affinity with Environmental Art.

Synopsis

The crossovers are legion. This is characteristic of the multidisciplinary approach of the toyists. Presentation of visual arts has long ceased to be the exclusive right of museums and galleries. Art is everywhere and can be shown everywhere. The basic idea is to create a total experience. Anyone who wants to, can be part of Toyism. This invitation calls for a broad range and an artistic approach that is literally groundbreaking and therefore can infiltrate both the established art order and the global playing field.

Wim van der Beek

Writer/art critic
Independent curator of contemporary art 
Lecturer Art & Society

Exhibitions

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS & ART FAIRS:

  • 2024: SCULPTURE GARDEN RAVESTEYN, HEENVLIET, NETHERLANDS
  • 2024: RED GATE GALLERY, BEIJING, CHINA
  • 2024: ART FAIR APPELTERN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2024: GALLERY SOUS TERRE, LITHOIJEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2023: RED GATE GALLERY, BEIJING, CHINA
  • 2023: ART’ IN LIMA, PONTE DE LIMA, PORTUGAL
  • 2023: KEI FAAT PRIMARY SCHOOL, HONG KONG, CHINA
  • 2022: TOYISM 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY, ZUIDLAREN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2022: PAN AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
  • 2020: TOYISM MUSEUM, ZUIDLAREN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2019: FORUM, GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2018: KEI FAAT PRIMARY SCHOOL, HONG KONG, CHINA
  • 2018: TONG LAU SPACE, HONG KONG, CHINA
  • 2017: ART GRONINGEN, GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2017: KUNSTMAAND AMELAND, AMELAND, NETHERLANDS
  • 2017: TOYISM TAKES OVER, 25 LOCATIONS, NETHERLANDS
  • 2017: RLS1957, GRAND CARNIVAL, EELDE, NETHERLANDS
  • 2016: UNIVERSITY GALLERY, PONTE DA LIMA, PORTUGAL
  • 2016: CULTUURPODIUM VANSLAG, BORGER, NETHERLANDS
  • 2015: TOYISM GALLERY GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2014: POP UP SHOW, STEDELIJK MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
  • 2014: DRENTS MUSEUM, ASSEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2014: KUNST AAN DE VAART, ASSEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2014: POP UP SHOW, LIONS CLUB, JEVER, GERMANY
  • 2013: BEELDENTUIN BEELDEN IN GEES, GEES, NETHERLANDS
  • 2012: GROTE KERK, EMMEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2011: KOELSCH GALLERY, HOUSTON, USA
  • 2008: NATIONAL MUSEUM, UGANDA, AFRIKA
  • 2007: GALLERY THYENCAMP, ASSEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2007: KOELSCH GALLERY, HOUSTON, USA
  • 2006: ROBOT ART GALLERY, SAN ANTONIO, USA
  • 2006: GALERIE HAAGS, DEN HAAG, NETHERLANDS
  • 2006: INTERNATIONAL PRINT & DRAWING EXHIBITION, TAIPEI, TAIWAN
  • 2006: SECRET ART WORKS, CINCINNATI, USA
  • 2006: ART BASEL MIAMI, MIAMI, USA
  • 2005: KUNSTRAI, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
  • 2005: BEIJING NATURAL CULTURAL CENTER, BEIJING, CHINA
  • 2005: TIME WARNER CABLE GALLERY, CINCINNATI, USA
  • 2004: BEURS VAN BERLAGE, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
  • 2004: NEW SPACE ART GALLERY, EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2003: ART FAIR ANTWERP, ANTWERP, BELGIUM
  • 2003: WERKPLAATS EMMEN, EMMEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 2003: KUNST EVENT ROTTERDAM, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
  • 2000: BARLINGTON GALLERY, NEW YORK, USA
  • 2000: GALLERY ARTIEN, AMERSFOORT, NETHERLANDS
  • 1999: GALLERY DE HOOIBERG, GROESSEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 1999: GALLERY ERTE ART, DUSSELDORF, GERMANY
  • 1999: ART FAIR, UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS
  • 1998: WORLD FINE ART GALLERY, NEW YORK, USA
  • 1998: GALLERY JA, EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 1997: GALLERY DE SIGARENFABRIEK, DELFT, NETHERLANDS
  • 1997: GALLERY ERTE ART, DUSSELDORF, GERMANY
  • 1996: GALLERY ARTO IMAGO, UDEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 1994: GALLERY ART SUPPORT, KAATSHEUVEL, NETHERLANDS
  • 1993: 2000: HUNTENKUNST, DOETINCHEM, NETHERLANDS
  • 1993: VEEN MUSEUM, EMMEN, NETHERLANDS
  • 1993: INTERNATIONAL ART GALLERY CLIVE MILLER, NETHERLANDS
  • 1993: ART 54 GALLERY, NEW YORK, USA
  • 1993: GALLERY GUIDO DE SPA, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
  • 1992: GALLERY DEJO (FOUNDATION TOYISM), EMMEN, NETHERLANDS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books:

  • MOTHER’S FINEST, TOYISM STUDIO 2022
  • DE TT ‘HORSEPOWER MANIA’, TOYISM STUDIO 2016
  • WIM VAN DER BEEK ‘UPPSPRETTA’, TOYISM STUDIO 2014
  • ANNELIEKE IDEMA, ‘TOYISM , MAKING HISTORY’, My Bestseller BV, 2013
  • WIM VAN DER BEEK, ‘TOYISM BEHIND THE MASK’, WAANDERS BOOKS, 2012
  • ‘KUNSTGIDS / ART GUIDE THE NETHERLANDS’, 2010
  • ‘ELEPHANT PARADE’, 2010
  • ‘ART REVISITED – TOYISM MOVEMENT’, 2004 – 2007
  • ‘DE KUNST VAN HET LEREN EN HET LEREN VAN DE KUNST’, 1997
  • ‘DE OPSTANDING VOLGENS DE TOYISTEN‘, KLAAS KOOPMAN, FEESTEN VOOROP, 1995

Want to know more? Send a request for our CV to: info @ toyism.com

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