Totem et tattoo. Une exposition contée pour les 6-12 ans

12 April 2014 - 22 September 2014

The Centre Pompidou invited Olivier Vadrot to devise an exhibition told as a story for children aged 6 to 12.

Thus "Totem et Tattoo" has set up its tepees in the Galerie des Enfants: a new venture for the artist, venue and young audiences alike. This exhibition takes a teasing look at exhibition conventions, inviting a number of works from the Centre Pompidou collection to move down a few floors to make an appearance with a difference! This is a generous approach, which places several major works chosen by Olivier Vadrot, and now on an exceptional outing from the museum, at the height of the smallest children.

This new closeness makes it easier for them to relate to the works and have more intense intimacy with them. The artist has devised an exhibition approach that is highly accessible, based on a free circuit of discovery designed for children: "I am neither a critic nor an art historian, and I would be totally incapable of producing a group exhibition with a scholarly aesthetic discourse." Through his spectacular stage design, a village of large, fun, colourful tepees that inspires the imagination, the artist encourages children to meet the works of 20th century artists face-to-face, including Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Victor Brauner, Man Ray and Max Ernst: all artists belonging to European avant-garde movements who were fascinated and largely influenced by the discovery of the ethnic arts. The canvas tepees contain works that upset the principles of representation. Their freedom encourages young viewers to look at them spontaneously, and leads them seamlessly into a dreamlike world.

Olivier Vadrot trained as an architect, and worked in the 2000s with the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who designed the Centre Pompidou-Metz. At the same time he founded the art centre La Salle de Bain in Lyon, and helped to create theatre shows. His familiarity with venues designed for art gradually led him to adopt a multidisciplinary approach closer to inspiration and aspiration:
"Today I occupy a singular territory at the crossroads of different fields, like art, architecture, theatre and music." While still claiming to be an architect, Olivier Vadrot has given up construction so as to enjoy total freedom in his creation.

To devise the exhibition "Totem et Tattoo", the artist invites his "tribe" to bring the village to life. The writer Pierre Senges has dreamed up the history of this place, and Sébastien Roux has set it to music. The children can stroll around listening to an audioguide that tells a highly imaginative story, and meet the chief Pupyopac - a devoted collector of modern art! Their explorers' equipment also includes torches, so that they can set out on an adventure, seeking out the singular details composing the works on show: these famous "totems and tattoos" of our ancestors, the moderns!

Information and schedule about the Totem et tattoo. Une exposition contée pour les 6-12 ans exhibition
Georges Meguerditchian - Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI (diffusion RMN) 
© Calder Foundation New York / Adagp, Paris
Georges Meguerditchian - Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI (diffusion RMN) © Calder Foundation New York / Adagp, Paris

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