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The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, currently has a summer exhibition titled Melbourne Now until the 23 March 2014. In the accompanying catalogue, curator Isobel Crombie writes about playtime in the gallery spaces. It is an impressive and relevant article to the Chartwell philosophy. Try to read it in the catalogue, which is held at the AAG's library, but I reproduce the first paragraphs here:

" Play lies at the heart of the creative impulse. It is a spontaneous activity that encourages new ideas to flourish and the unexpected or seemingly impossible to take form. For artists, the possibilities of unrestricted self-expression through play are closely linked to the flow of the creative imagination. German philosopher Immanuel Kant also explore the idea that play is part of the experience of viewing art when he proposed, in his Critique of Aesthetic Judgement (1790), that a person's pleasure in works of art results from allowing a free play of ideas and imagination.

It is apparent that many gallery visitors now want a greater level of involvement with the art that they view. it is tempting to speculate that as life becomes ever more centred on consumerism and online experiences, a counter move towards direct engagement and authenticity becomes more desirable. An art gallery stands as a highly unusual space in our society that offers a 'non-ordinary' environment in which ideas and emotions generated by art allow visitors to tap into their own creativity...."

Crombie then goes on to describe some of the interactive art experiences at the gallery during the Melbourne Now exhibition. such as those by Marco Fusinato and Laith McGregor then continues to say that play is often perceived as a frivolous activity and rightly comments that this is less associated with an adult's engagement with an art gallery visit.But a visit to the exhibition is rewarding and exhilarating for adults too as Crombie concludes that an engagement with art need not be a solitary activity - that it can provide a model for participation and the active enhancement of the imagination providing an expanded meaning of contemporary art.

 It is a useful essay when discussing these sorts of activity- based programmes and one we valued reading.

Isobel Crombie, Playful, Melbourne Now, 2014, National Gallery of Victoria publication, pages 32 - 33.

Also in Melbourne Now was Nicholas Mangan's A World Undone, a video edition of which one is in the Chartwell Collection.






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