'Head of Woman'.
'Head of Woman'.
'Man Pointing'.
'Man Pointing'.

Alberto Giacometti exhibition at Tate Modern, London

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Kids in Museums volunteer Martina Santangelo reviews Giacometti’s people-themed exhibition. 

As well as with all great art, you don’t necessarily need previous artistic or historical knowledge to enjoy shapes, lines, and materials, especially for Alberto Giacometti’s work. That’s why his current retrospective at Tate Modern makes excellent sense for children.

Entering the opening room, the first impression might be negative from a child’s perspective – literally: a crowding of heads in different materials and styles are displayed above child’s height. This can make their exploration daunting, which is a shame.

In the second room, kids may find the interaction with the abstract forms of the sculptures amusing. Abstract forms are very evocative and could be a springboard to invent their own story to go with them. No matter what they are looking at, this exhibition tries to take their interpretation outside the box. It’s a great way to let them build connections with the artworks and discover a curious perspective of reality from a new visual.

In the fourth room, the exhibition gets a lot more friendly to little visitors. Kids can not only appreciate the art through sight, but other senses too, and what’s better than the Giacometti’s expressive sculptures to encourage this kind of approach? They can mime what they see, embodying the famous elongated figures and play different poses. The artist captured movement in his tall, thin humans and it often looked like people had been frozen in time.

Any artwork has the power to speak to a child. The best way to help children’s interest and imagination during this visit is to allow them to move around the sculptures and look at them from all angles. You see sculptures that are so tiny you have to look very closely at them, and others so huge you have to look from the bottom up. That might be an incentive to explore a new point of view. After all, art is meant to make us think in new ways.

The exhibition shows the fascination of Giacometti with different materials and textures, such as plaster, clay and bronze. Asking kids to guess what it’s made of or how he created them could be a fun way to help focus and should be an awareness for art.

Room nine is dedicated to the portraits of Giacometti’s familiar models, whether painting or sculptures: he loved to use people he was close to as inspiration, focusing on heads as the most important part of the human body. The dark grey and brown paintings might not capture the attention of younger visitors. In the same room, a video shows the artist filmed in his studio drawing portraits. All the details are stripped away and people’s personalities are shown in the simplest way.

The ‘Alberto Giacometti exhibition runs at Tate Modern until the 10th of September 2017.

Adult £18.50 (without donation £16.80); Concession £16.50 (without donation £15); under 12s FREE (up to four per family adult); family tickets available (two adults and two children 12–18 years) by telephone or in the gallery.

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