Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Transforming Gallery Space for Children's Exhibition

A review of Exhibition: Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing: From book to film

I had the opportunity to visit a nearby (30mins away from Brisbane) local gallery, Redcliffe Art Gallery to view the Shaun Tan exhibition based on his children's book "The Lost Thing". Immediately walking into the Gallery I LOVED the set up. I could tell straight away thought had gone into the layout of the exhibition, to make it exciting for children. The exhibition was a collection of; original artworks, a few sculptures and documentary segments on how they turned the book into a short 15min film. 

How the curator displayed the film clips was imaginative. All the exhibition was themed to look like the book. So the films were display on screens which were encased in a fictional looking TV Box. The engaging part for participates was that they had to pick up an old retro telephone handset to listen to the audio. This was a great idea as there were a number of film clips that could play at once and this meant it did not disrupt the experience of others. Also, to play the video, the children had to press a red button which was a symbol used in the book.

I loved how every page of the book was laid out in order and on view with some of the accompanying artworks. Props associated with the exhibition really gave the sense of the space being not only transformed but incorporated, for example, the fake pipes attached to the wall. Other fixtures included display cases masqueraded as a sense from the book, or protruding walls with window holes. Another feature was a large open 'pipe' which had sounds playing so children could go and put their ear to the piece. 

All in all a very engaging (though small) exhibition, it wad just right with number of artworks. That was another aspect, to the interesting design and layout of the exhibition. The artworks were arranged deliberately to be bunched together in asymmetrical format. 

The only criticism I have, which is not solely related to this exhibition is the blurred line between what children could touch and not touch. General Gallery etiquette is that you don't touch the artwork. And this would still be true for those things framed and on the wall, however it was unclear for the 'props' where something we could touch. Small issue but nonetheless I have found this uncertainty among other children focused exhibitions.  

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