The kids are the real stars in the exhibition LIFE TIME featuring Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. They have painted thousands of pictures of the moon that are now on display in the SCHIRN.
It's hot this afternoon, there is a buzz of voices in the background, excited children slide back and forth restlessly on their chairs, a big hello. Everyone is waiting eagerly in the foyer of the SCHIRN for one person: Ugo Rondinone. Together with SCHIRN, the Swiss artist has invited the children to his new exhibition LIFE TIME. They will be the first ones to see the show – before this evening’s official preview in fact. For not only are works by the internationally renowned contemporary artist on display, but also the drawings by the children who have gathered in the SCHIRN today.
By June 1, 2022, more than 5,200 pictures had been submitted for the SCHIRN STARS campaign - by children between the ages of 6 and 12. They responded to Rondinone’s call and painted pictures of the moon: on their own at home, in the “Time for Stars” workshops at Schirn, at children's art weekends, or at the painting station at the SCHIRN. Now all these artworks together form the world's largest night sky in the form of an installation entitled “your age and my age and the age of the moon.” From June 24 to September 18, this firmament can be admired as part of the LIFE TIME exhibition in the SCHIRN's rotunda galleries.
more than 5,200 pictures
More than a hundred schools took part in the project, with in many cases several different classes participating. Lina and Mara are 9 and 7 years old respectively and attend the Eichwäldchen School in Oberursel. They painted their works in art class. “It was a lot of fun,” they say. “I painted the full moon, and there are brown spots on it, because the moon has craters,” says Lina. Mara, on the other hand, chose a half moon with stars and trees. The two of them aren't afraid of the night at all; they’ve even gone on a night hike.
I painted the full moon, and there are brown spots on it, because the moon has craters
Time for Stars
In fact, the SCHIRN received entries not only from Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region. Children from all over Germany, including Berlin, Bremen, Trier, Augsburg, and Saarbrücken, took part in the campaign. Moon pictures were even produced abroad, in Zurich and Bern, as well as in Houilles in France or Sjenica in Serbia. The project was so successful that there ended up not being enough space at SCHIRN to present all the pictures. Which is why Rondinone is considering producing a book featuring all the drawings submitted, as he announces to great applause.
The moon I wanted to paint round and so I took a plate for it
There is now a big crowd in the SCHIRN’s rotunda galleries. Everyone wants to spot their work of art and their name on the large doors as quickly as possible. For, as is only right, all of the young artists are named. And it is certainly an impressive scene that waits to greet them: On walls that have specially been painted black, from floor to ceiling, countless moons and stars are emblazoned closely together on black cardboard. Seven-year-old Frida has just found her picture and is very proud: “I wanted to paint the moon round, so I took a plate and added stars, because the universe also has stars.” Carla (11), on the other hand, has not yet found her picture. But she definitely had fun painting and goes on to say: “I really wanted to participate.”
For Rondinone, the moon represents reverie, longing, and the cosmic vastness of the universe. It occupies a special place in the artist’s oeuvre as a recurring theme. That said, the children have not only painted moons and stars. Carl (7), for example, says his painting depicts a red house and a meadow with trees under the full moon sky. His twin brother Julius (7) also drew trees and shooting stars, not to mention UFOs and a rocket: “Because I thought I'd imagine UFOs in outer space and shooting stars, and trees down on Earth.” This is entirely in Rondinone’s spirit, as he uses his art to give a new poetic dimension to everyday things and phenomena such as a tree, a clock, a sun or a rainbow.
I'd love to live right behind the door, then I could look at the pictures every morning
More than moon and stars
This explains why Rondinone’s own piece, named “flower moon” is the silver- white cast of a 2000-year-old olive tree. It can be viewed in the rotunda, which is open to the public. This afternoon colorful cardboard stools are set up around the 6-meter-high sculpture. The young stars” get something to drink and eat here before they go home again. And they can come back whenever they want, because all children up to 12 years of age have free admission to the exhibition to look at the works at any time. Henrik (7) has an even better idea: “I'd love to live right behind the door, then I could look at the pictures every morning,” he says.