Burster, Flipper, Wobbler, Dripper, Spinner, Stacker, Shaker, Maker is a colour explosion of an exhibition aimed at families that’s just opened at the Christchurch Art Gallery’s new temporary site at Art Box. I do wonder how they came up with that name…
Art Box is a developing art precinct in the centre of town. The venture is run by CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology) and most of it has been gifted or donated. Currently there is the art gallery’s exhibition, a private gallery and still coming are music and artist studios. It’s reminiscent of a mini arts centre in the middle of the empty building sites.
Christchurch has been without an art gallery for a number of years since the earthquakes, and this is the first time my family has ventured inside a building, albeit shipping containers, to experience art, and it was soooo good. The space itself works perfectly for a small exhibition with light wood floors, white walls and natural indirect light flooding the space. There was enough but not too much so the boys weren’t overwhelmed by the art, but the adults had plenty to keep us visually stimulated with the number and variety of the artworks.
Having been so long without viewing art in a building, I went to touch it, but then remembered, that of course, being art, I really mustn’t. I’m told that the artists are very keen for their work to be handled and stroked, but the art gallery, in the interests of preserving it for future generations, are understandably not so keen. The artwork that drew me in the most were the morphing pencil sculpture, the paint skins suspended like tubes from the ceiling, and the slow-motion video of the exploding paint-filled balloon. All the pieces were visually stimulating with huge impact, especially for younger people who can recognise objects being used in very different ways. It challenged their view of art beautifully. Simple name plates next to each piece and longer interview sheets were nearby for adults. I personally much prefer this leaner yet more in-depth way of providing information.
We went to the Family Day in mid-February to mark the opening of the exhibition, and for my easily excitable boys, this was just the right amount of stimulation. Both went straight for the imagination playground – imagine foam duplo crossed with mobilo. This will be a permanent feature of the learning space when the gallery re-opens.
My youngest spied the paintings some of the kids were making using a humble salad spinner. Squirt blobs of colour onto a round piece of card inside a salad spinner, spin hard, add more, spin again, dry with a hair dyer and ta da! Instant art.
Back to the imagination playground, then they discovered there were FREE iced lollies, so they stopped long enough to sit and listen to the band and suck their ices. There were colourful chinese lanterns to decorate with stamps and then gently blow up, and then the littlest one found the face painting lady…
Happily occupied all afternoon, we were now the last ones left with the gallery staff, so the biggest one and granddad helped to put away the imagination playground whilst the littlest one had his face painting finished.
Burster, Flipper, Wobbler, Dripper, Spinner, Stacker, Shaker, Maker runs from now until September, so in the upcoming chilly months, venture into town with the kids and have a look.
All exhibition photos courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery.