a small start on a BIG project

A post or two ago I mentioned that I have a big exhibition project on the horizon. Well, I think I've refined the idea enough now to be able to tell you about it. By virtue of being in the right place at the right time, I've been presented with the wonderful (and daunting) opportunity to create this year's pre-Christmas exhibition at Objectspace.

I've decided to produce an exhibition especially for children. For a while now I've noticed that unlike Museums, which tend to offer a range of child friendly exhibitions, like the Kai to Pie exhibition showing now at the Auckland Museum, art galleries aren't as much fun for kids to visit because of the strict no touching rules, the complexity of exhibition concepts, and the height at which art works are displayed. There are some encouraging signs that this is changing though. I'm glad to see that the New Dowse have an exhibition for kids opening next month called Fuzz, Felt and Fur where tactile and textured items from the Museum's textile collection will be available for children to touch, and afterwards they can attend a workshop and make things from felt.

The exhibition I'm designing is called One Brown Box. It's inspired by a great picture book by Antoinette Portis called Not a Box, which tells the story of a little rabbit who uses his vivid imagination to create all kinds of things from a simple cardboard box.

Taking the concept of the brown box as a plain structure with unlimited imaginative potential, I'm going to create a storybook exhibition that combines a number of my primary enthusiasms: storytelling, papercrafts, and kid's picture books.

There will be four narrative components to the exhibition based on my adaptations of classic fairytales, which are told from the perspective of absent, minor and overlooked characters from the original stories:
The Princess and the Pea - the Pea's story
Hansel and Gretel - the Architect's story
Snow White- the Mirror's story
Jack and the Beanstalk- the Baker's story

Each adapted tale will be accompanied by an interactive paper and cardboard tableaux that will incorporate every kind of papercraft technique I know (pop-ups, paper cut-outs, collage, winebox theatres, papier mache), as well as some that I'm just learning, like my first attempt at quilling above. A lovely blog called all things paper will tell you all you need to know about this elegant papercraft.

I'm very excited to reveal that the other important component of the exhibition will be a large cardboard model by Karl Chitham; artist, curator and founder of the Museum of True History . I can't wait to see what Karl will do for the show. It will no doubt be spectacular, like this beauty from his recent exhibition at AUT's St Paul St Gallery in Auckland.
Veneziano - Selvaggi Corte, 2010 (Courtesy of Private Collections and MOTH)

One Brown Box will open at Objectspace on Saturday 6 November, so I have a huge amount of work to do between now and then. I'll be providing progress reports right here...


Ann Martin said…
Sounds like a very intriguing project! You're off to a great start with the quilling and I look forward to seeing more as things progress. Thanks for the link to my blog.
Meliors Simms said…
How fabulous... I can't wait!

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