Babies Are Knocking is the new exhibition curated by Veronica He, Pia Lauro and Chiara Vigliotti at Studio Stefania Miscetti in the heart of Rome. The many artists from the contemporary art scene invited to take part (over forty) were asked to reconnect with a unique childhood vision: the need to explore, play, live and experiment. From the outset, this is an operation that asks you to tune in and listen not only to forgotten emotions and sensations, but also to a very private part of yourself. What does it mean to be a “child” in the first place? Each artist was accompanied in this reflection by a spatial obligation to express themselves exclusively in A4 format. In spite of its apparent limitation, this size instantly takes those who work with these requirements back to their first experiences of paper and pencil – memories of common experiences that can be immediately grasped by the viewer.
The project is driven by the aim of uniting two very different but similar visions: the freedom and ability to experiment belonging to children and artists. Another starting point is also the historical moment. At a time when the “adult world” is questioning how to recover from the Covid emergency, children’s lives continue unabated according to natural laws, characterised as they have always been by the vital drive towards knowledge and exploration, free from rigidity and superstructures.
The entire exhibition was designed with pre-school children in mind and the works of the various artists were made accessible to them by placing them at a maximum height of one hundred centimetres on the wall. In this way the exhibition achieved the aim of making the adult’s point of view child-friendly and, at the same time, rendering the child’s point of view visible to the adult. The position of the works forces viewers into the “uncomfortable” position of having to stoop down, making the experience not only visual but also one involving the rest of the body. Despite these objectives, the aim of the exhibition was also not to focus exclusively on playfulness and free experimentation but, above all, to speak about a wide range of emotions and feelings in a language that all ages can understand. Some works speak to us of grief, of mourning. Some images could even be mistaken for orifices and, from an adult’s point of view, could be considered as either erotic or inappropriate.
However, it is precisely at pre-school age that humans become fully aware of their bodies and their own orifices, making the visual choice of images very appropriate. Depending on the age of the viewer, these images carry various spontaneous messages, operating on several levels of perception. The exhibition is developed around a central table, which children can interact with through drawing. The children’s drawings are then displayed on the wall opposite that reserved for the artists, like two visions that confront and engage in dialogue with each other. The reflections and ideas conceived in the exhibition continue in the space outside, through the collaboration with the State School in Rome “IC Daniele Manin” – part of the F. Di Donato school complex, which is the project’s cultural partner – and the students from its primary section with the aim of supporting the Institute’s Arts Plan.
Babies are Knocking, curated by Veronica He, Pia Lauro and Chiara Vigliotti
Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome, 27.05 – 30.07.2021
images (cover 1) Babies Are Knocking, Studio Stefania Miscetti (2-3) Babies Are Knocking, group exhibition view, Studio Stefania Miscetti (4) Alfredo Jaar, Table for Babies Are Knocking, 2021, photo Giorgio Benni