Spirit of Kindergarten is an international group exhibition about the relationship between the ideas of the German educator Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852) and modern and contemporary art and architecture. The kindergarten is an avant-garde concept and preschool pedagogy mostly used in Montessori education. However, less well known is that its forms, imagery, and learning materials have long had considerable influence on artists, designers and architects. We see traces of Fröbel’s ideas in art historical movements such as Futurism, the Bauhaus and geometric abstraction. As architect Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote: ‘The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterward leaves the fingers.’
Fröbel’s educational system’s emphasis on form and colour has a strong affinity with Jo and Marlies Eyck’s art collection, for which these elements have consistently informed their collecting. One might conclude that Fröbel’s kindergarten alludes to a Gesamtkunstwerk like Kasteel Wijlre estate; a place that inspires both young and old and where nature, art and architecture converge.
Artists: Otto Berchem, Yonatan Vinitsky, Francis Alÿs, Belén Uriel, Michel François, Eva Rothschild, David Renggli, Irma Cohen, Erwin Wurm, Daan Van Golden, Herman Hertzberger, Erwin Heerich, Ben Akkerman, Bob Bonies, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ad Dekkers and Donald Judd.
Artistic director: Brigitte BloksmaSpirit of Kindergarten – Kasteel Wijlre estate
Guest-curator: Erich Weiss
Project leader: Manon Berns
BY TERESA VILLEGAS