Realms of Childhood – Dreams of Childhood

27 September 2014 - 15 February 2015

Books are spaces for our imagination. But what happens when these spaces really become three-dimensional?

Illustrators such as Shaun Tan, Øyvind Torseter or the French artist couple Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud are among the stars of three-dimensional storytelling. They create works in which the atmosphere and the details take on unexpected meaning, so that stories for young and old are told in a whole new way.

The exhibition “Realms of Childhood – Dreams of Childhood” not merely presented the wonderful books produced by these four artists, but expanded to become a walk-in realm of experience. The three-dimensional illustrations by Øyvind Torseter, Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud became picture-book landscapes that invite us to enter and experience their fantastic realms as realities.

Øyvind Torseter presented us with a world of assembled elements in which the detail of his drawing makes us conscious of the beauty of everyday objects while at the same time opening up a subtly charged psychological space.

With Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud the book itself became a realm of experience. On their voyage across the “Ocean” they guided us through ingeniously designed worlds of folded paper which, with kindly humour, show us the living creatures under the sea and the ecological threats they face.

The Australian Shaun Tan, for his part, laid his pencil aside for his new edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. For each of the well-known stories he created an evocative object in the form of a sculpture. He photographed these works for the book, but in the museum the original sculptures were on view, presented by the artist as installations in which, through light, shade and surface, he concentrates the emotional drama of tales such as “Hansel and Gretel”, “Rapunzel” or “Snow White” in a single tableau. Complementing these three-dimensional worlds, visitors will have the opportunity to listen to an audiobook version of the story concerned.

On the threshold of the digital age, each of the four artists individually rediscovers the possibilities offered by paper and the book. While Shaun Tan opts for the magical effect of the object in space and Øyvind Torseter builds inner worlds as landscapes, Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud amaze us with their inventive manipulation of paper and the narrative potential of design. Despite the differences between their aesthetic approaches and the original techniques they have developed, all four artists are united in their desire to allow the viewer to see and enjoy the creative process behind their work.

Thomas Linden, Matthias Wagner K

Exhibition director
David Beikirch