Part of our collaborative 'Exquisite Corpse' exhibition will involve work by children who attend the art classes at the Islington Arts Factory.
I have been volunteering at the classes for the past few months and recently, we have been looking at surrealism and imaginary cities as prompts for the children to produce artwork from. This happened to fit in with the theme of the group exhibition, which is literally be taking place next door!
Although the collaborative work in our exhibition was inspired by the surrealist game of the "exquisite corpse" or "consequences", it was perhaps not as playful - in the sense that the person working on the reassigned piece could see what was being done to it. There was no moment of revelation for everyone when the piece was unveiled, such as when the surrealist drawings would be unfolded. In the lessons, we thought it would be interesting to see if the children could make work, through the idea of using a game as a construct for drawing or painting.
We tried a few different ideas and initially, we tried a "Chinese whispers" game through drawing, however we chose a recognisable subject and they were so good at the drawing, that there wasn't much of a transformation between each one! We expected there to be a gradual change to provide an interesting or amusing result (like in the spoken version of the game), however, this wasn't really the case.
We also tried to see how each of them responded to an abstract painting, (which happened to be one of mine for the show). For this game, we asked the children to try to copy my original painting in a short amount of time. The abstract nature of the painting hopefully allowed them more freedom to pick out the forms that they were drawn to individually. Displaying them alongside each other would visually demonstrate this.
Finally, the children also used the game of "consequences" to create a multi-levelled surrealist building, in keeping with the "City of Dreams" theme that has been an inspiration for their work. This produced a lovely result, which will be exhibited in the show.