21 February – 26 August 2012
Wanna Play! combines a retrospective view of a fine and original tradition within Danish art – art playgrounds in the public space – with an experimental approach to exhibition practices, specifically in the form of a giant indoor playground created by six artists in the museum’s top floor. We have long held a fond wish to unite these two elements in a single exhibition. Indeed, the museum was well equipped for the task; as regards the history of the subject KØS already owned sketches and models, created by artists such as William Fridericia, for the historic amusement park Tivoli’s artist playground Tivolaj (1958, no longer exists).
In 2011 the museum’s collections saw the addition of models for Randi & Katrine’s art playground in the Nikolaj Square in Copenhagen. However, we were confident that the subject offered an even greater potential wealth of material, and we are very pleased to have unearthed much of it – e.g. about Tivolaj, where we found additional materials through Torsten Johansson’s family. Johansson was the creative mind behind the sculptural, vividly yellow slide in this innovative playground setting. The exhibition also shows materials documenting Palle Nielsen’s groundbreaking project from 1968: a giant indoor playground at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Kerstin Bergendal and the artists’ group Konvoj are also featured in the exhibition. By juxtaposing materials documenting the playground projects created by Bergendal and Konvoj we focus on how artists employ relational practises when creating playgrounds.
WANNA PLAY! looks at how restrictions and rules makes it difficult to create truly wild, artistic playgrounds. Many of us remember the special thrill of that really good slide, the sensational see-saw, and so on, but times have changed: gone are the days of innocence where children could scamper around junk playgrounds, mount swings without having special safety surfaces underneath, etc. Today we are preoccupied with rules and regulations, with the letter of the law and the potential liabilities associated with any mishaps; all this is an impediment to establishing ”wild” playgrounds.Nevertheless, the issue is highly topical in connection with the City of Copenhagen’s project Plads Til Leg (literally “Grounds for Play”), which encompasses five art playgrounds so far, created by Randi & Katrine, Nina Saunders, Peter Land, Eva Steen Christensen, and Tanja Rau, respectively.
At KØS, we firmly believe that an exhibition such as this should fuse historical analysis and retrospection with opportunities for playing here and now. We wish to extend our warm thanks to the six artists who have created play-elements for the exhibition: Anders Bonnesen, Camilla Berner, Andreas Schulenburg, Vibe Bredahl, Hannah Heilmann, and Anna Maria Helgadottir. Thanks are also due to Fantasileg ApS, who acted as safety consultants for the exhibition.
Photo: Erling Lykke Jeppesen