01 June 2019

May we introduce: Aron, our youngest art fan! On the occasion of International Children's Day, we took a look behind the scenes of the Schirn with him and learned how a Porsche landed in the elevator.

By Charlotte Voillequin

Aron is almost six years old. Back in 2017, when his eye was drawn to the Schirn posters for the René Magritte exhibition “The Treachery of Images”, he was only three and frequently asked about the “shadow man” on the poster. Around the same time, Aron learned to look through a camera lens and now often sets about photographing his surroundings. Equipped with an analog 35mm camera and his big friend Charlotte to accompany him, Aron then visited the Magritte exhibition at the Schirn. Now she tells us about their joint look behind the scenes:

He observes the pictures he particularly likes at length, studies them with great attention, and photographs them with his camera – whenever he thinks they are suitable subjects. I am moved and impressed at the same time by Aron’s purposeful selection and concentrated ability to observe things. Aron’s singlemindedness as he makes a beeline for certain images, which he then looks at for several minutes, captivates other visitors to the exhibition too. I quickly notice that Aron knows what he likes. 

The photos are on his wall until today

I therefore leave it up to him to decide which pictures we stop at and kneel next to him when he lingers in front of an exhibit. Aron asks a few questions, primarily the “what?” and “why?” of specific subjects; moreover, he asks me to tell him “what does it say?” when he wants the text on the walls to be deciphered for him. We thus spend a good hour in the exhibition and buy a few postcards as souvenirs on the way out. 

Poster of the Magritte exhibition, 2017 © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

The photos Aron takes have also been developed and a (slightly low-angle) shot of Magritte’s “L’Ellipse” still adorns the wall of his bedroom today. After seeing everything from Magritte to Vasarely, the Old Masters at the Städel Museum and the sculpture collection at the Liebighaus last year, today he’s heading back to the SCHIRN. Once again Aron has an analog camera and me to accompany him, but this time we’re not seeing an exhibition; we’re getting a look behind the scenes at the gallery instead.

The huge lift once even transported a Porsche

The Bruno Gironcoli exhibition has only just been dismantled and Aron is able to see light-flooded, empty rooms which, until very recently, were home to Gironcoli’s enormous sculptures. Behind the walls of the room, we are led to the “mobile workshop”, where we see the miniature models of the sculptures. We proceed to the workshop rooms. There, Aron can get stuck in, opening an enormous transportation crate with a screwdriver. We learn that works of art are normally packaged in crates like this, so they can then be brought to Frankfurt by truck or plane. Aron listens intently and wants to look in all the cupboards and drawers again before we continue to the joinery in the SCHIRN’s basement.

Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin
Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin
Photo: Elisabeth Pallentin

We take a huge service lift that can only be accessed with a key to go down to the workshops. Aron is particularly impressed by the fact that this huge lift once even transported a Porsche. Last but not least, we take a look at the SCHIRN’s offices. The walls of the long corridor are plastered with framed posters of past exhibitions.

Here, we also find the poster for the Magritte exhibition, showing not the “shadow man” but “L’Ellipse”: “Ah, just like at home!”, says Aron and imagines how great it would be to ride his scooter down the long corridor. When our tour is over, Aron wants to take a few photos outside, and while he photographs the glass roof of the rotunda, he confirms once again: “Today we went to places no one else can go, didn’t we?”

Today we went to places no one else can go, didn’t we?

Aron
Photo of the Schirn Rotunda by Aron