Tuesday 6 March 2012

Kusama is brilliant for Babies

Today I took culturebaby to the Tate Modern for the second time in a week- her first art gallery visits. Each time was a fantastic experience. She quite clearly loved it. Her chatterings and excited squeals at the art led to a number of discussions with passers-by about it "never being too early to show them art" (their observations) and how happy she looked. I was wearing her in a sling, facing forwards, so it was at times hard to see her reaction, though her legs and arms were flapping in front of certain pieces! However, every now and then we came to a mirrored piece and it was wonderful to see her excited face looking back.

The Tate has an exhibition of work from Yayoi Kusama's 60 year career and includes a brilliant range of media. Given that it is very unlikely that culturebaby or her peers will notice the propensity of phallic references, I'd say this is one of the most baby-friendly exhibitions I have seen. There are videos, wonderful bright patterned paintings such as Kusama's works from the 1990s and the last decade, giant polka-dot balloons, large sculptures, a UV-lit room I'm Here, but Nothing consisting of  a darkened domestic interior covered in fluorescent glowing spots, and the best sensory room one could ever hope to show a baby - the Infinity Mirrored Room- Filled with the Brilliance of Life. Kusama is interested in the infinity of space, and this room is made with a zig-zagged path through mirrored walls with multi-coloured (and constantly changing) hanging strings of lights. The floor on either side of the path contains water, again providing a reflective surface. Culturebaby loved the whole experience and was very vocal about it! This excellent link from the Guardian shows some of the more exciting images, including the Infinity Mirrored Room.

We also popped into the Alighiero Boetti Game Plan exhibition. There were some engaging textures and sculptures for us to see, and a particularly colourful series of embroideries entitled Tutto (everything). Culturebaby had a good chat with some of these beautiful large canvasses! This interesting textiles blog shows some of these.

What has been really apparent from our visit is that culturebaby really wants to touch the works (clearly not allowed), and therefore the areas outside the exhibitions with large reproductions of images, and especially the giant colourful flower sculpture created by Kusama (that is situated outside on the balcony), was brilliant for this.


 All in all, current exhibitions come highly recommended. And there is always a wonderful view from the cafe (which incidentally seems to be the meeting place of various NCT-like groups), for any feeding breaks...

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