Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA

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We could be at a fairground: a mass of stuffed toy animals on hooks, on plinths, on the floor. Prizes to be won by throwing coconuts at bottles’ Or a toyshop’ A fantasy store of rare and wondrous things’ Or a warehouse of mis-made objects’ Of things that look like things we know, but don’t quite follow the rules: things that have features missing, eyeless, excess words, slogans; things without function evoking the everyday.

In fact we wander through Cosima von Bonin’s UK exhibition at the Arnolfini in Bristol. The art centre overlooking the picturesque harbour, full of painted boats and slow moving water, calls to mind the key words of the title, ‘Lazy Susan’, suggesting ease of movement and relaxation (a Lazy Susan is a circular rotating tray to help move food on a large table).

The opening of this exhibition was timed to coincide with the launch of the Arnolfini’s 50th Anniversary. Cosima von Bonin contributed a playful intervention in the form of an animatronic toy not unlike Elmo from Sesame Street. It stood on a plinth in the midst of the atrium, sporadically blubbering into a microphone as though on a podium. This mockery of state address and formal announcement deftly undercut any pomp or ceremony. The artistic director made a speech that evening too, gracefully acknowledging the presence of the talking soft toy as he did so. This ribbing of the ‘rhetoric of power’ is taken to a zany extreme within the exhibition, which features a sculpture comprised of a soft toy riding a mock missile (à la Major Kong riding the bomb in Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove).

In contrast the majority of the exhibition is dominated by evocations of leisure: wooden structures slatted like beach huts; sun-shades and parasols; ‘Fruits de mer’ with anthropomorphic features, as though they have snuck away from an animation of the Little Mermaid. Central to the display on the ground floor is a clapped out stuffed figure with big ears, all black, flat on its back on a mechanized rotating disk. On the soles of his(’) fabric feet the word SLOTH is stitched. He’s just chilling, sunbathing, ‘not-doing’.

A desire for holiday, a break from work - is poked fun at, we are reminded the notion of leisure arose hand in hand with industrialisation - and now the post-industrial workplace of extended and ambiguous office hours, and the Blackberry that ensures you are connected to work even when you leave your place of work, have all amplified these fantasies and the strengthened the leisure industry. These fabric works parody the mass-production of cheap-tat-toys made in Taiwan or China. Their careful crafting alludes to collective art-making activities like quilting and sewing circles, exactly opposite to the impersonal de-skilling instigated by the mechanisation of production.

The spectre of Warhol hovers above. Whereas his ‘Factory’ sought quick means of production, notably screen-printing, improvisatory video and photography, von Bonin critiques through a paean to the slow-burn and labour intensive creation of objects - but her ode to indolence, resistance through inertia and unproductiveness has taken an awful lot of work.

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