Entering into the cafe of me Collectors Room, it dawned on me that something big had happened seemingly overnight – Gerhard Richter has left the room, in his place a comic invasion has taken over. No more squeegee prints to be found, instead Selim Varol's collection of larger-than-life toys and street art adorn each possible corner of me Collectors Room. As if having entered into a sudden time machine, this exhibition is guaranteed to entertain each visitor for hours on end with pop culture manifestations spanning generations.
So what does it mean to collect? Varol compares it to the hunter-gatherer instinct, but for him collecting is more than just a means for survival – it's a way to remember and keep a piece of your everyday with you for possibly the rest of your life. From toys he started collecting when he was six years old (Batman being his first toy) to street art custom-made by Shepard Fairey. Fairey is the street artist behind Obama's "Hope" campaign poster, and in the words of Varol praising the skills of Fairey: "street art won the election." The street art collection is quite comprehensive and accessible to those who know everything or nothing about the street art scene.
Berlin's Own Universal Studios
Varol's collection consists of some 15,000 toys. Only a fourth are on display at the exhibit, so you're bound to see hundreds of toys that you recognize or can associate with some part of your life. Some of the faces you'll see: Rambo, every possible Star Wars character, Daft Punk, and Hitler cozying up to Michael Jackson. It's almost like a trip to LA – you've got the heaps and heaps of street art from some of the most influential actors in the history of street art, and then you've got thousands of pop culture figures and the feeling of being thrilled like a child visiting Universal Studios for the first time.
All aboard – it's a toy invasion. Selim Varol "At Home I'm A Tourist," me Collectors Room. Photo courtesy of me Collector's Room.
This intimate collection allows you into the world of the collector – almost everything meaningful to him is set out on the table, literally. The juxtaposition and coherence of the toys and art is mesmerizing and unforgettable; memories of different periods of life continued to spin in my head all day. Toys aren't just for children – though we're sure your child will have a blast at the exhibit, for you it'll be a blast from the past.
- me Collectors Room "Art & Toys – Collection Selim Varol" May 26th – October 14th 2012, Tue – Sun: 12 – 6pm