In his new works, Chanarin has moved away from his use of mid-20th century education and instructional books to take inspiration from children’s literature from the 1930s to the 1960s, taking what the gallery describes as a ‘stylised, illustrative aesthetic’.
According to Eleven Spitalfields, the artist’s new illustrative time is a tribute to the ‘mostly anonymous, often brilliant illustrators’ whose work graced the pages of these tomes for youngsters, paying homage to their distinctive pen and ink works.
Collage is employed, too, giving a strange, surreal twist to the subject matter, with characters in the scenes relating to one another without obvious narratives – the meaning muddied further by the lack of text.
Eleven Spitalfields says, ‘Through the telling of tales and inclusion of archetypal characters [in children’s books from the 1930s – 1960s] children were encouraged to distinguish right from wrong.
‘Chanarin takes these familiar elements and arranges them in a sometimes playful, sometimes subversive way.’
Michal Chanarin, Illustrated Guide to Wisdom, runs until 28 February at Eleven Spitalfields Gallery, 11 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, London, E1