“«Stay back! It’s mine!» she yelled.
That was when she was lassoed. She was then pulled out of the store, she saw it was her five friends and it was Applejack with the rope.
«Let go of me Applejack!» yelled Rarity. (…)
«Maybe once we’re 10 miles away from that store.» Said Rainbow Dash.»”
– excerpts from the fan-fiction: «Sailor-ponies» at fanfiction.net
Despite being marketed to little girls – always in a new, colorful style to collect – My Little pony-toys and their television series have in recent years gained a surprisingly big group of adult (mostly) male fans called “Bronies”. They share their own pony-stories, so-called fan fiction, at comprehensive online forums and gather at conventions worldwide, with a deep, sincere appreciation for the different pony characters.
Anja Carr’s solo exhibition “Peachy Blue” includes two installations, sculptural and photographic, in addition to a bodily wall-sculpture. The installation “Peachy Blue” consists of two enlargements of the first My Little Pony-toy generation (1982) in the maximum size of actual Shetland ponies. Their long tales are entwined in one, common braid, preventing their mobility, as if they were victims of an evil child. Implying contrasting moods the words “Peachy” and “Blue” pursue the ambiguous aspects of Carr’s works, simultaneously the title is simply an abbreviation of the original toy-ponies’ names Peachy and Blue Belle. Besides describing a positive feeling, the peach is associated with a plump buttocks – which these ponies certainly have – clearly seen in the widespread use of peach-emojis as substitute for human, female bottoms.
Absurd connections following a dream-logic are quintessential of Carr: In the second installation a photograph printed on plastic in billboard-size, shows the same pony-sculptures acting in a non-public performance for pupils in Bergen. Stretched between two opposite walls, attached with pony-ropes in tetherrings, the photograph divides the room accentuating it’s physical limitations, tied as horse in it’s stall. The title “I båsen”, meaning “In the stall”, points to the Norwegian expression “Putte i bås” in English: “To categorize”. The photograph depicts the mentioned pony sculptures and a naked man continuing the sculptures’ narrative with his hair braided into each pony tail, like an embodiment of the Brony subculture. As in Carr’s previous works, categories are exceeded between gender, animal and human, adult and child in this excerpt from a dream-like performance: The man, supposedly sleeping, is physically – and perhaps mentally – intertwined with these anthropomorphic animals, head to butt.
In the third work the artist’s own 69 cm long braid – cut off two years ago – is integrated, along with a real pony-whip and comb. The title “Hårpisk” from Norwegian “hair” and “whip”, in English “queue”, is a long braid from the top of the scalp, hanging down the neck; a hairstyle mandatory for all men violently imposed by the Qing dynasty in China (1644 – 1912). Originally a practice from the military the “Hårpisk” became common in men’s fashion in Europe in the 1700s, usually as powder wigs. From the oldest known reproduction of a braided head made 30,000 years ago, braided hairstyles have put people in categories and served as non-verbal communication expressing status, age, ethnicity, religion, and other attributes of identity. When cut off, hair becomes an abject material, somewhere between object and subject. Challenging habitual categories, juxtaposing the childlike and the violent, Carr’s works can in subtle ways question our basic inclination towards violence and the categorizing of people apparent in politics and social media today.
Anja Carr’s previous solo exhibitions include CANDYLAND (Stockholm, SE), Skåne Art Association (Malmö, SE), the Agency Gallery (London, UK), POPPOSITIONS Art Fair (Brussels, BE) presented by NoPlace (Oslo, NO), Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art (Trondheim, NO) and Akershus Art Center (Lillestrøm, NO). She recently participated at the group exhibitions “When Will I Be Little Again?” at Tadeusz Kantor Museum (Kraków, PL) and “Menneskeberget” at Edvard Munch’s studio, Ekely (Oslo, NO). Performances include NOoSPHERE (New York, NY), Miami Performance International Festival ’15 (Miami, FL), Le Générateur (Paris, FR), Open Forum, Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, NO) and W139 (Amsterdam, NL). In addition to her own practice Carr has run the pink exhibition space PINK CUBE in Oslo for five years, with bodyfluids in the wall-paint and a slight majority of female exhibitors.