Middle School

Stories on stage

“The Dream Machine is Asleep” di Eva Kot'átková

Activity by Miriam Gatta

15 February to 22 July 2018

Background
Eva Kot’átková’s work often straddles different disciplines; for example, to create the installation Theatre of Speaking Objects, she has employed many techniques and conventions of drama and pantomime—like black light theater (černé divadlo) or marionettes, which are historically important in Czech culture—to explore the performative potential of language. Another central theme found in all the works on view is sleep and dreaming, as a time for creating new visions and parallel worlds.

Areas addressed

  • Italian
  • Art and images

Educational goals
The main objective of the workshop is to hone children’s narrative and visual skills, through a guided tour of the show in which the Arts Tutors will highlight how different artistic techniques—drawing, collage, sculpture, photomontage, video, performance, and installation—can be deftly combined to create complex artworks, with many different layers of meaning that spark the imagination.

Activity
During the workshop, the kids will be asked to think of a dream – or come up with a dream-like story – and turn it into a brief dramatic sketch, trying their hand at all the tasks that go into staging a real play: from writing the script, to making the props, to acting out the roles.

We Are History

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
Anselm Kiefer has always been acknowledged as “the artist of history”, particularly German history, because his works originate from profound reflection on memory and on “how to remember”. Each of us has an individual history full of events and encounters that have determined our path: The idea is thus to help young people understand that their personalities are influenced by an array of factors that this activity aims to bring out.

Focus Areas
• Geography
• Italian
• Religion
• History

Educational Objectives
The workshop aims to underscore the importance of individual history, as well as personal and family memories as the constituent elements of collective memory. The child will become aware that his or her personality is the outcome of personal experience and that existence goes beyond the present and is irrevocably bound to the history of his or her own context.

Activities
Starting with the reflection on the importance of memory in the language of Anselm Kiefer, students will be asked to identify people, places or things that are particularly significant to them. They will be asked to imagine that they are picking up Kiefer’s Falling Pictures and to think about what they would like to see represented inside the frames. Using recycled material that is provided to them, each child will create his own picture and “content”. When everyone has made their pictures they will build a tower with boxes and use it to hang their works. Kiefer’s pictures will thus be picked up and put back in place!

The Towers Tell a Story

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
When making his work, Anselm Kiefer was profoundly inspired by the idea of the tower in history, with many references to the architecture of the past, but especially to its symbolic value. His towers, which each consist of between five and seven modules, testify to what remains after every conflict. Their precarious look does indeed make them appear like ruins, as the memory of a by no means distant past, or the foreboding of a possible future. When looking at them, some have wondered: “Are they the remains of an ancient city, an industrial settlement or of a village with asbestos-cement roofs?” There is no single answer to this question, for there can be many interpretations and everyone can apply their own imagination to them.

Focus Areas
• Italian
• History
• Art and image

Educational Objectives
The activity is designed to show the kids a different approach to history, letting them discover how the same architectural forms may be repeated in every age, but with different functions, depending on the particular historical period. Having them build a tower of their own to reflect their world and their needs, and choosing a particular historical period for this, is designed to include them actively in the flow of time and make them the manual creators of a past that will testify to the present. Individual work and a spirit of cooperation between classmates will also be developed.

Activities
At the beginning of the activity, the kids will be shown pictures of various towers that have been built throughout the course of history, from ancient lookout towers to bell towers, minarets and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, through to towers of distant cultures and the modern towers of our cities, such as skyscrapers and chimneys. The class will then be divided into groups and each one will be asked to invent a tower, taking inspiration from the ones they have seen together, imagining what it might look like and be used for, and what functions it might have. The students will decide whether to take inspiration from a historical tower or to make one that might suit their present needs.

Stellar Myths

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
For the opening of Pirelli HangarBicocca in 2004, the German artist Anselm Kiefer created an installation called The Seven Heavenly Palaces, to which in September 2015 he added five large canvases that give new meaning to his original work.
In the form of constellations, meteorites and stars, the celestial sphere is the protagonist of the stories told by the towers and paintings.

Focus Areas

  • Italian
  • History
  • Science
  • Art and image

Educational Objectives
During the guided tour with the arts tutors, the children will find out more about the celestial sphere, through stories about constellations, meteorites and stars.
The aim of this activity is to help the children find out how the heavenly bodies can lead to different interpretations, depending on the terms of reference, which may be artistic, mythological or scientific.

Activities
Starting with a reading of myths and legends about the constellations, each participant will be asked to make one of their own, using the materials provided.
At the end of the activity, the works will be placed next to each other to create the idea of a great sky, where different sets of stars – all telling different stories – can coexist harmoniously.

One, No One, a Hundred Thousand

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
In his Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, Anselm Kiefer uses several objects imbued with a value that goes beyond what they represent: the tower, the book, the ship and numbered glass shards. The latter help us discover the star, the recurrent element in our daily life, geographical and political history, and – above all – religions. We will see how a seemingly commonplace image can hold countless meanings that are universal and subjective, immediate and hidden, shared and personal. We will learn that each object can invoke an invisible world that goes beyond its mere representation: form and content, significant and significance, do not always coincide. The symbol is something different from what it appears to be, the visible part of that which is not present.

Focus Areas
• History
• Italian
• Religion
• History of Art

Educational Objectives
The young people will be asked to reflect on the multiplicity of senses that an image contains, learning to go beyond appearance to glean the true value that is concealed behind forms. They will understand the difference between sign and symbol, and the fact that, at times, they can be universal and shared by all, whereas at other times they are strictly subjective.

Activities
Starting with the recognition and interpretation of the symbols in The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, they will ponder the broader concept of symbols and the contexts in which they are used. Therefore, starting from the assumption that any daily object can remain such, but can also acquire a myriad of meanings, the young people will be asked to choose an object, form, fruit or word that best represents them, to which they will attribute a content and meaning that will make them their own personal symbol, on a strictly subjective level.

Further information

Thematic Activities: Collage techniques in the work of Eva Kot’átková

“The Dream Machine is Asleep” di Eva Kot'átková

From 15 February to 22 July 2018

Abuou 90 minutes

Background
The work of Eva Kot’átková, one of the best-known artists of her generation, has appeared in major international exhibitions such as the Biennale de Lyon (2011), the Biennale of Sydney (2012), and the Biennale di Venezia (2013). She draws on the language of the early twentieth-century avant-garde movements, particularly Surrealism and Dada—with their references to the subconscious and techniques like collage and photomontage—to investigate the human body and how it relates to objects.
Areas addressed

  • Art and images

Activity
The workshop will be divided into two parts: the first will be a brief lecture, accompanied by images, exploring how the technique of collage was used by some of the leading artists in early twentieth-century avant-garde movements such as Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Dada.

In the second part, the kids will be led on a guided tour of the exhibition, examining the works along with the Arts Tutors and learning how Eva Kot’átková has explored this technique in her oeuvre.

Talking art: “The Dream Machine is Asleep” di Eva Kot’átková

“The Dream Machine is Asleep” di Eva Kot'átková

From 15 February to 22 July 2018

About 60 minutes 

Students will be led on a guided tour of the Eva Kot’átková exhibition “The Dream Machine Is Asleep,”  which presents older works alongside a series of new pieces made for the occasion, combining installation, sculpture, collage, and elements of performance. It revolves around a selection of works inspired by the notion of the human body as a machine, an organism that needs tune-ups—periods of regeneration and rest—in order to function. The theme of sleep and dreaming is a central part of this, as a time for creating new visions and parallel worlds.

The work of Eva Kot’átková, one of the best-known artists of her generation, has appeared in major international exhibitions such as the Biennale de Lyon (2011), the Biennale of Sydney (2012), and the Biennale di Venezia (2013). She draws on the language of the early twentieth-century avant-garde movements, particularly Surrealism and Dada—with their references to the subconscious and techniques like collage and photomontage—to investigate the human body and how it relates to objects.

 

 

Thematic Activities: Anselm Kiefer and Multi-material Painting

"The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015" by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
Five large paintings from between 2009 and 2013, on display for the first time, enrich and expand The Seven Heavenly Palaces, the permanent work by Anselm Kiefer, bringing new meaning to it by creating an interaction between the installation and the new paintings. An in-depth analysis of Kiefer’s artistic practice reflects on the core aspects of his work, including the relationship between man and nature, and references to the history of ideas and Western philosophy.

Focus Areas
• History of Art
• Italian and Foreign Literature
• History
• Religion

Activities
The course will consist of two parts: the first in the form of a brief face-to-face lesson, with images showing the use of materials in Kiefer’s art from the 1970s onwards. In the second, the children will be accompanied by the arts tutors around the exhibition to observe and analyse the five paintings in relation to the Heavenly Palaces. At the end of the activity, they will be given a small fascicle with the key notions explained during the lecture.

 

Further information

Talking art: “The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

"The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015" by Anselm Kiefer

Pirelli HangarBicocca is one of the largest exhibition venues in Europe for contemporary art. It is a converted industrial plant, measuring some 15,000 square meters, where locomotives were once built.
The site-specific permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces was created for the opening of this space in 2004, and later expanded in 2015, with the addition of five new large-scale paintings.
Along with the “towers,” they form a single installation titled The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015.
Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945 in Donaueschingen) is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists.
The hallmark of his work is his distinctive use of both natural and artificial materials, often infused with multiple symbolic meanings.
One of its recurring themes is memory, both personal and collective, accompanied by a deep meditation on German history.
The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 stands as a summation of the artist’s oeuvre, encompassing all its main themes and concerns.