One of the best exhibits in town, at the International Childrens Center for Art, is not just for kids.
Upon entering the building, some of the most pleasant gallery guides you will ever see point to the the first of two current exhibits, titled "Stories of the Old and New Testaments", an exhibition of paintings by Czech artist Štěpán Zavřel. The pictures of Biblical and Egyptian scenes, castle attacks, and donkey treks through the desert are done in a kid-like cartoon style that borders quite frankly on boring. Some of the pieces are cut into puzzle-pieces for the children to assemble.
After hurrying through, look for the giant wooden spool and follow the shiprope-like "thread" up to the second floor where you'll find the latest show put on by local schoolchildren called "Tisic a jedna niť", which means "1001 Threads." In the first room, the "Students Laboratory", more than 250 students were all given a piece of cloth approximately 10 square centimeters and told to use their imagination.
The result is a composition of pinned up squares in various patterns like common grass blades sewn and woven into odd patterns. Some patterns have bacon colored pieces of foam arranged in a french-fry fashion, while others express new designs with flower petals, cottonballs, drinking straws, postage stamps, and of course threads of all sizes resembling masses of tiny spider legs. Each individual square is interesting enough, but the whole wall is a "wonder".
The next room features several fashion designs by Zuzana Kubisová where one can see the flower dresses and wild paper hats which won her first place in several fashion competitions. Stuffed animals adorn the walls, sewn with exotic fabrics, crying out to be played with and tossed about. "Interactive Quilts" on the walls beckon the fingers of anyone to open doors, break windows, and dance with dolls.
Since the children have managed to behave themselves well up to now, the next room sports a large jungle-gym with tons of stuffed stuff to jump, rolick and let out all of their pent up energy. As if that wasn't enough, there's more.
There is no sign or notice to let you know it's there, but if you're really, really good the museum guide will point in the direction of the nearly unnoticeable black curtain in the corner of the room. "It's the black theater," she says with a smile. Chills go up your spine as you are reminded of those dark haunted houses as a kid.
All are asked to don black outfits and enter the all black room, lit only by a giant black light rendering everything invisible except fluorescent colors or white. Painted on the wall in glowing letters is: "Discover the magical world of black theater! Put on a costume and make magic with games, light, shadows and colors!" That is exactly what follows. To music, children play with various glowing toys that appear to float around the room because of their invisible black clothes.
The exhibition is well thought out and put together with a logical progession that children will appreciate. Nearly every two months, Bibiana hosts new exhibitions mainly geared towards kids. But we are all "kids at heart", right?
Bibiana is located on Panská 14 in Bratislava and is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day except Monday. General admission is 8 SK, for children 5 SK, and for groups of 10 or more 3 SK. For future programs or other information, call 533-1314.
10. Apr 1997 at 0:00 | Ron Severdia