The Whitechapel Gallery Children’s Art Commission | Eva Rothschild: Boys and Sculpture


The Whitechapel Gallery Children’s Art Commission

Eva Rothschild: Boys and Sculpture                                                        
19 June – 9 September 2012
Outset Project Gallery (Gallery 5) & 176/Zabludowicz Collection Project Gallery (Gallery 6)


Each year the Whitechapel Gallery commissions an artist to make a work of art that engages with children. This summer, London-based Irish sculptor Eva Rothschild’s new film shows what happens when young boys are let loose in a gallery.


Boys and Sculpture (2012) shows a group of boys, aged between 6 and 12, each entering a gallery full of Rothschild’s sculptures. Slowly and tentatively the boys begin by looking, then touching. They proceed however, to totally dismantling the sculptures, reveling in the joys of play and of destruction.


In the film, the artist investigates the particularly physical interaction boys have with the material world and with making things, while questioning why sculpture in modern and contemporary art has been largely dominated by men. Boys and Sculpture tackles subjects Rothschild has been interested in for many years, and has been informed by her experiences of teaching at art schools and observing her own children playing.


Rothschild is known for her conceptual approach to traditional sculpture. Her works use shape, colour, crafts techniques and scale – ranging from domestic sized objects to an epic zigzag which transversed a whole gallery. Her minimal, sometimes gravity-defying sculptures and wall hangings feature tactile materials such as leather, wood, Perspex and rubber.


The Whitechapel Gallery’s Children’s Art Commission invites leading artists to create new works of art for children, families and visitors to enjoy. Previous artists include Jake and Dinos Chapman (2010) and Alan Kane (2011). A series of events and workshops for all ages are programmed to run alongside the exhibition:


Discussion: Boys, Making and the Material World

Friday 13 July, 4pm, Zilkha Auditorium (£7/5 conc.)

Inspired by the Children’s Art Commission, this discussion between the artist, Whitechapel Gallery Curator Kirsty Ogg and guests consider our physical relationship with contemporary art, and asks what children have to teach us about destruction, production and gendered play.


Discussion: Boys v Girls

Thursday 26 July, 6.30pm, Study Studio (Free. Booking essential)

Eva Rothschild discusses the issues explored in Boys and Sculpture. Is there a difference between the way boys and girls interact with objects, and is there a male domination in areas of the art world such as art school? For young people aged 14–19.


Family Day: Gallery as Playground

Saturday 28 July, 12-4pm, Galleries & Education Studios (Free. Booking recommended)

Children are invited to create a huge sculpture, play in a giant sandpit and use a zine to navigate the gallery in a family day led by artists from The London Open exhibition including Leigh Clarke, Caroline Achaintre and Emma Holmes.


Weekend Workshops: Make. Break. Remake

21   July; 4, 25 August; 1 September, 2–4pm Clore Creative Studio & Galleries 5 & 6 (Free. Booking recommended)

Using wood, plastic and styrofoam, children aged 5-12 are invited to work with artist Felicity Hammond to create large-scale sculptures, and enjoy taking them apart.


Schools’ Workshops: Make. Break. Remake

26, 27, 28 June and 4 July, 10.30am–12.30pm Clore Creative Studio & Galleries 5 & 6 (Free. Booking recommended)

In workshops developed for primary school groups and led by artists Andrew Munks and Oliver Sutherland, children can work together to make and take apart sculptures using materials similar to those in Eva Rothschild’s work.


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