It’s this simple. When we’re with kids we tend to play a hell of a lot more.
So it’s from this slant that the artist Ryan Gander has collaborated with 5 children aged between six and ten from a local Liverpool school, Knotty Ash Primary School, to make play come to life in the classroom environment and brought to life through contemporary art in an outdoor and gal
I’ve never heard of the Montessori method developed by Maria Montessori, one of the most important early year educators of the 20th century. She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome’s medical school. ‘Time Moves Quickly’ is the result of Gander’s school collaboration initialising a Montessori style of education with these children. Through this they have inspired a series of contemporary artwork by Gander at the Bluecoat, as well as creating a series of seating sculptures next to the iconic Liverpool Met Cathedral.
Like origami puzzles the pure white outdoor ‘benches’ were devised through creating abstract 3d compositions whilst the children were blindfolded. Allowing them the opportunity for stimulating play whilst being an ‘intellectual project’. Their ability to articulate creatively doesn’t go unnoticed as you sit, stand, crouch, lean, jump and lie-on the outdoor installations. The creative possibilities of the sculptural compositions doesn’t leave just because they are now in situ and out of the classroom.
The puzzle theme continues in the gallery from line drawings using thin coloured wooden pieces of varying size and length creating a dense matrix of shape and storytelling. Once again inspired by the children’s ability to defy logical assumptions, improvise and have fun. This sits near the contemporary-styled minimal black and white stained birch plywood series happily titled ‘Exaggerated Play Patterns (creation play involves some risk-taking – Abstract Distraction)’.
From the simple, un-uniformed Jenga-style wooden pieces stacked ungainly in both vertical and horizontal totem positions, to the free-form hexagon and triangle sculptures on plinths, to the individuality resounding in the dot and x’s paintings on the wall, they all allude to contemporary art being a vision of child’s play for adult creativity.
This sense of play resonates completely to me in Gander’s ‘Supernormal Stimuli’ 2018 a 3d arrangement of coloured balls, triangles and hexagons. These plywood frames contain the unpredictability of play but it’s at the heart and soul of everything we do. Throughout the exhibition there is an acute display of independent thought with the imagination and vitality of artistic creativity. Food for thought though it’s more apt that I should end with Play for Thought!
‘Time Moves Quickly’ Kickstarter campaign
A new campaign involving young people in the creation of ambitious artworks and exhibitions is key to presenting challenging work that is representative of our society. For more information click: www.kickstarter.com/projects/liverpoolbiennial/time-moves-quickly
On until 28th October
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Liverpool, L3 5TQ
Liverpool, L1 3BX