Spacemakers and Roomshakers, Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ captivating new exhibition, Spacemakers and Roomshakers: installations from the collection, is a wonderful opportunity for children to experience contemporary art.
The exhibition presents the large-scale works of eight contemporary artists that invite visitors to explore various sensory worlds. The installations use light, sound, air, fabric and even spices to elicit a response from the gallery visitors – and, in the case of several in particular, the effect is profound. For instance, Ernesto Neto’s hanging fabric sculpture Just like drops in time, nothing (2002), which uses six different aromatic spices, with a combined weight of 425 kilograms, is so powerful, it can be smelt from the gallery floors above!

Image: Ernesto Neto, ‘Just like drops in time, nothing’ 2002, polymer stretch fabric, spices installation dimensions variable, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchased with assistance from Clayton Utz 2002 © Ernesto Neto, Photo: Felicity Jenkins, AGNSW

Nike Savvas’s kinetic installation, Atomic: full of love, full of wonder (2005), featuring 50,000 painted polystyrene balls assembled on nylon threads, giving the impression of a shimmering haze, is truly mesmerising.

Image: Nike Savvas, ‘Atomic: full of love, full of wonder’ 2005, polystyrene, nylon, polymer paint, electric fans, air movement, overall display dimensions variable, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2006 © Nike Savvas, Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter
We recently took our little art aficionados, aged four and six years, to this exhibition. The children were fascinated by the immersive experiential artworks. The children especially loved exploring In transit (double-function form) (2018), Yona Lee’s labyrinth of metal handrails and objects, inspired by the busy streets and subway of Seoul. They were transfixed by Daniel von Sturmer’s The truth effect (2003), which presents visual tricks using everyday objects. Atomic: full of love, full of wonder, such a staggeringly beautiful piece, was another highlight for them, as was Kathy Temin’s My Monument: Black Garden (2010–11), a vast structure covered in soft black fake fur.

Image: Yona Lee, ‘In transit (double-function form)’ 2018, stainless steel pipes, objects, Courtesy the artist and generously supplied by Creative New Zealand, Ruth Vincent, Jim Barr and Mary Barr, © Yona Lee, Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW
Free ‘children’s trail’ activity booklets are found at the entrance of the exhibition. The booklet encourages young people to reflect on and engage with the exhibition’s pieces in different ways, by spotting items and creating their own ‘spacemaking’ works.
This free exhibition runs until 21 October. It is located in the Contemporary galleries on lower level 2. The cafe, which has a garden area, is situated on lower level 2.
Overall, we highly recommend this memorable exhibition for adults and children. We do note that some individuals with olfactory sensitivities may find Ernesto Neto’s spice-laden work overpowering.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, lower level 2
Open daily 10 am–5 pm, Wednesdays until 10 pm
Spacemakers and Roomshakers is on until 14 July until 21 October 2018
Free exhibition

Image © Ginny Grant
Cover image: Nike Savvas, ‘Atomic: full of love, full of wonder’ 2005, details as above

All artwork images kindly supplied by the Art Gallery of New South Wales
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