Friday 16 December 2011

Magic and fantasy

A visit to GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane) today provided further proof that art galleries and young children can be compatible. The Gallery has made a bold move to de-mystify the Gallery space. To re-affirm the notion that art can be fun; that art is to be enjoyed and that if children are introduced to art at a young age they will continue to visit. It is true, though that some of the exhibits test the observation skills of the Gallery staff to the limits.
Yayoi Kusuma: Look Now See Forever transforms the galleries with vibrant pulsating colour. The online catalogue gives a wonderful overview of the exhibition. Huge red and white spotted balloons dwarf the viewer in a red and white spotted room called Dots Obsession.

Dots obsession 2011 in Yayoi Kusuma: Look Now, See Forever

In the next room there are huge fibre-glass Flowers that Bloom at Midnight – all asking to be touched. Then at last, in the Obliteration Room, there’s a place where the usually forbidden is allowed and even encouraged. When the exhibition opened this room was pure white. The room is furnished as a traditional Australian home with locally sourced furniture – all painted white.

On entering each viewer is handed a sheet of brightly coloured stickers – dots of various sizes – and these can be stuck anywhere - on the floor, the furniture, a piano and, for the very tall, the ceiling.

 A couple of weeks later and there are still some white gaps but by the end of the show the room will have been transformed.

Pip and Pop’s installation: we miss you magic land! was commissioned for the Children’s Art Centre. It’s a fairy tale world made out of layers of sugar, modelling clay, mirrors and origami creations - a forest of fantasy plants and flowers. One of the gallery staff I spoke to said she had helped work on the installation. It had taken about eight weeks to complete with a lot of the components arriving already made.

It’s enticing and fascinating and trying to persuade the little ones not to touch is almost impossible.

In fact at times in spite of the watchful eye of numerous Gallery staff the occasional stretch and touch does occur. Take a careful look at the last photograph – the evidence of a touching hand is there!

I've just found a link to the Obsession Room before the dots...


  1. So colorful - I can see why kids would love this (and those who are kids at heart)!