Fröebel Studio: The Institute for Creativity
An Installation by Eamon O’Kane
3rd Floor Studio West
June 4, 2016 – 2017
Curated by Megan Johnston
Rochester Art Center is thrilled to host Irish-born, Denmark-based artist Eamon O’Kane. O’Kane will transform an entire gallery into an interactive installation, making direct visual and conceptual reference to educational play objects devised by educator and inventor of kindergarten, Friedrich Fröebel (1782-1852). Fröebel was one of the pioneers of pedagogy, who placed play at the center of his teachings as a typical childhood activity that is of great educational value. His “play-gifts” and teaching material continue to be acknowledged to this day, including the basic pedagogic forms he developed of the sphere, cylinder and cube, which are still employed. Fröebel’s construction blocks and movement games were also a source of inspiration for abstract artists and the Bauhaus movement. Indeed, the entire gallery space looks like a disassembled Piet Mondrian painting.
Yet, for the artist, parenthood acted as the catalyst for this inquiry into methods of merging real life with his art practice—where his ongoing concerns are the synergetic interplay of art, architecture, design, and education. Despite the art historical references, Fröebel Studio: The Institute for Creativity is designed as a platform for developing creativity, to be experienced by adults and children alike, as well as teachers and schools.
This project launches the new RAC family and schools program entitled The Informal Institute of Creativity, which focuses on the reciprocal nature of play, art, pedagogy, and new methods of learning.
About the Artist
O’Kane has exhibited widely and is the recipient of many awards and scholarships including the Taylor Art Award, The Tony O’Malley Award and a Fulbright Award. He has shown in exhibitions curated by Dan Cameron, Lynne Cooke, Klaus Ottman, Salah M. Hassan, Jeremy Millar, Mike Fitzpatrick, Sarah Pierce, Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, Angelika Nollert, Yilmaz Dziewior and Apinan Poshyananda. He has taken part in EV+A, Limerick, Ireland seven times including 2005 when he received an EV+A open award from Dan Cameron. In 2006 he was short-listed for the AIB Prize and received a Pollock Krasner foundation grant.
O’Kane has had over forty solo exhibitions including shows in Berlin, Frankfurt, Dublin, Zurich, New York, London and Copenhagen. He was short-listed for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in London in 2007. His artwork is in numerous public and private collections worldwide including Deutsche Bank; Burda Museum, Baden Baden, Germany; Sammlung Südhausbau, Munich; Limerick City Gallery; FORTIS; DUBLIN 98FM Radio Station; Microsoft; Bank of Ireland Collection; Irish Contemporary Arts Society; Country Bank, New York; Office of Public Works; P.M.P.A. and Guardian Insurance; Donegal County Library; UNIBANK, Denmark; NKT Denmark; HK, Denmark; Danske Bank, Denmark; Sammlung Strack, Cologne, Germany; University Of Ulster, Belfast; Aspen RE, London; Rugby Art Gallery and Museum Collection; The Sainsbury Center, Norwich, UK. Eamon completed a three month residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris in 2008. O’Kane is Professor of Visual Art and Painting at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway