Interactive exhibit presents art from a child’s perspective

by Lauren Furniss

Ever wondered what goes through a baby’s mind? Five groups of innovative artists take a guess with “Garden for Children,” an interactive exhibit to be displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, starting this weekend.

Combining developmental psychology with art, the exhibit provides a colorful look into the sensory world of young children through hands-on installations, sculptures and video works.

The contemporary artists that will be featured include creative duo Kosuge 1-16, who focus on making art out of everyday life; architect Mikiko Endo, who designs innovative play spaces for kids; and multidisciplinary artist Saki Satom, who explores behavioral norms and cultural practices through drawing and video. Incorporating floral motifs, bright colors and the idea of play, the exhibit is a vibrant, brain-stimulating “garden” of sorts that both parents and kids can enjoy, whether visiting to admire the beauty of Goh Ideta’s room of 8,000 mirrors or play on Kosuge 1-16’s giant soccer-board installation. Other highlights of the exhibit include a kaleidoscope that shifts with human movement, a room draped in white felt covered in hand-drawn flower designs and an enormous tree sculpture featuring caterpillars designed by local children.

By allowing adults to experience art work from the mental viewpoint of kids, the exhibit intends to encourage multigenerational conversations about art and challenge adults to see the relationship between art and the senses in a new way. Prior to the exhibit’s opening, Kosuge 1-16 led craft workshops with children in four locations throughout Koto City with the intention of displaying the kids’ work in the museum. Special lectures by artists and child development experts will also be offered during the course of the exhibit, as well as art workshops at local nursery schools and on nearby streets.

The museum will also host bubble performances by artist Shinji Ohmaki and a seminar led by professor Kazuo Hiraki, a baby specialist from Tokyo University.

“Garden for Children” will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo from July 24 to Oct. 3. Admission is ¥1,100 for adults and free for those children who are of elementary school age and below. For more information, visit www.mot-art-museum.jp