Foto: Lorenzo Palmieri. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano.

Primary School

A Forest of Sounds

“A Leaf-Shaped Animal Draws The Hand” by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Runs from 12 September 2019 to 19 January 2020

Introduction
For years Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Barcelona, 1977; lives and works in Rio de Janeiro) has been engaged in an artistic exploration of how geometric and abstract forms intersect with elements of the natural world around us. The resulting imagery has given rise to recurring motifs such as leaves, trees, and insects that prompt us to reflect on the reality of the world we inhabit. One of the main subjects of his work is the Mata Atlântica, one of the world’s richest tropical rainforests in terms of biodiversity, which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, reaching as far as Paraguay. Detaching himself from the exotic imagination and the romantic vision of the rainforest, the artist investigates the relationships between existence and visibility, dissolution and belonging, concreteness and abstraction inherent to its ecosystem.

Focus Areas

  • Science
  • Art and Images
  • Music

Educational Objectives
By exploring the exhibition, children and youngsters will discover that Nature is an organism composed of infinite parallel worlds of living beings (both animal and plant) that show and hide themselves in a continuous flow and dialogue, through the presence or absence (visibility or invisibility) of movement or sound. The course also aims to highlight how enriching it is “to be in the world”, not only by relying on our eyes, but also through our other senses.

Activities
In keeping with the exhibition’s focus on the influence of sound on vision and on the perception of the presence or absence of living beings, the exhibition’s Arts Tutors will invite the students to use images to represent a sound belonging to the forest, which they will hear individually over headphones. Once the visual representation phase is over, the children will be able to listen to the sounds together with the whole class, and share their graphic representation with their fellow visitors. In the second part of the activity, the students will be invited to reflect on the “invisible” sounds of the forest (growing roots, emerging leaves, blooming flowers, animals living underground, etc.) and to complete the representation of this complex organism with pre-selected images of all the living beings whose presence cannot be seen.

Who’s Hiding?

“A Leaf-Shaped Animal Draws The Hand” by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Runs from 12 September 2019 to 19 January 2020

Introduction
For years Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Barcelona, 1977; lives and works in Rio de Janeiro) has been engaged in an artistic exploration of how geometric and abstract forms intersect with elements of the natural world around us. The resulting imagery has given rise to recurring motifs such as leaves, trees, and insects that prompt us to reflect on the reality of the world we inhabit. One of the main subjects of his work is the Mata Atlântica, one of the richest rainforests in terms of biodiversity, which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, reaching as far as Paraguay. Detaching himself from the exotic imagination and the romantic vision of the rainforest, the artist investigates the relationships between existence and visibility, dissolution and belonging, concreteness and abstraction inherent to its ecosystem.

Focus areas

  • Science
  • Art and Images
  • Geometry

Educational objectives
The aim of the activity is to allow the students to discover the complexity of the world around us. Nature is not just an organism made up of infinite parallel worlds of living beings (both animals or plants) that show and hide themselves in a continuous flow and dialogue. Rather, it is also the result of the composition of lines and geometric shapes that, when skilfully interconnected with lights and colours, create an apparently confused and disordered environment in which the figures and background coexist in a fluid relationship between visibility and invisibility.

Activities
During the exploration of the exhibition, emphasis will be placed on the infinite possible combinations of shapes and colours that allow living beings to appear and disappear fluidly in the natural environment of the rainforest. In the workshop space, the children will be stimulated by listening to specially selected soundtracks, and asked to imagine and create a variety of scenarios in which different living beings coexist which, depending on their conformation and structure, can make themselves visible or invisible in the proposed landscape.

Let’s Explore!

"A Leaf-Shaped Animal Draws The Hand" by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Runs from 12 September 2019 to 19 January 2020

Introduction
For years Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Barcelona, 1977; lives and works in Rio de Janeiro) has been engaged in an artistic exploration of the relationship between culture and nature. The artist’s interest in biology led him to investigate complex ecological systems and to introduce the natural world into his work. His practice contains numerous references to the Brazilian rainforest – such as branches, leaves and insects – which, combined with geometric shapes and abstract motifs, raise our awareness of the complex dynamics between the elements of the world around us.
The artist places the physical and sensorial dimension of the viewer at the centre of the exhibition project, offering new visions of the entire corpus of his works – virtual reality settings, holograms, sculptures, and installations – all weaving together in a seamless dialogue. The exhibition route is characterised by an alternation of material experiences and intangible situations, through a site-specific installation created with transparent white fabric partitions that simultaneously reveal and hide the works on display.

Focus areas

  • Art and imagery
  • Italian
  • Science

Educational objectives
The aim of the activity is to allow students to discover how art can be used to represent the complexity of the world around us by drawing on different media that have been carefully chosen to bring out certain characteristics to the fullest. One of the other purposes of the course is to show that careful observation of the work allows us to grasp its peculiarities, which are fundamental for fully understanding the artist’s message.

Activities
With the support of a notebook introducing guided activities, the children will be invited to explore the exhibition on their own, and to exercise their individual powers of observation, synthesis, and creativity – both narrative and visual – in relation to the main themes developed by the artist, such as the relationship between Nature and humanity, the relationship between geometric shapes and living organisms, and the use of technological tools to tell stories through images. Each activity will be followed by a moment of sharing and discussion with the entire class together with the Arts Tutors.

Sounds that leave their mark (I and II cycle)

“....the Illuminating Gas” by Cerith Wyn Evans

Runs from 31 October 2019 to 23 February 2020

Introduction
….the Illuminating Gas” is the largest exhibition ever set up by the Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans (born 1958 in Llanelli, Wales, United Kingdom; lives and works between London and Norwich, UK) and is conceived as a synesthetic composition in which the various works presented weave together three of our senses via visuals, sounds, and movements, in many cases borrowing from a vast repertoire of different areas of culture spanning the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including literature, music, philosophy, photography, poetry, art history, astronomy, and the sciences. The outcome is a complex overlapping of meanings and mental associations, ideas and interpretations, which place the spectator before a dynamic maelstrom of stimuli that beg to be unravelled: these exciting creations of Evans generate multiple scenarios, short-circuits and juxtapositions of meaning that inspire different perspectives on our concept of reality.

Focus areas
• Art and Imagery
• Music
• Science

Educational Targets
With the help of the Art Tutors, the kids will soon discover how the artist conceived the entire exhibition as a journey through a special landscape in which visual impressions and sound stimuli interweave and are constantly transformed according to the movements of those standing there observing and the time they take to absorb what they see.
The purpose of this route of exploration is to trigger different levels of perception in the children, and to demonstrate how even though the soundtrack is the same for everyone, it can be “translated” into body-movements that lead to personal journeys that then undergo further transformations depending on where the observer is standing.

Activities
The first part takes place in the exhibition itself, where the youngsters will above all notice the dazzling arrangements of neon lights that animate the main halls of the Hangar, and how they offer an amazing puzzle of straight lines, curves and complex geometric shapes of varying sizes, amidst installations enhanced with a continual soundtrack. The second part takes place in the workshop space, where the children will be asked to listen to musical soundtracks with different rhythms, and through a series of prompts supplied by the Art Tutors, these sounds will be translated into body-movements, coloured graphic signs, leading to an illuminated design of their own making.

New alphabets: from sign to sound (II cycle)

“....the Illuminating Gas” by Cerith Wyn Evans

Runs from 31 October 2019 to 23 February 2020

Introduction
….the Illuminating Gas” is the largest exhibition ever set up by the Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans (born 1958 in Llanelli, Wales, United Kingdom; lives and works between London and Norwich, UK), whose creations offer a constant process of translation and transposition of languages, codes, and shifts in time, combining sound impulses with projections of intense images like a move, alongside text material taken out of context that are transformed into a language of light. This process can be observed for example through the words transcribed in the air with neon light-strips, or in the sculptures shaped like huge lampshades that translate such signals as Morse Code into flashing light displays. This system is also found in the artist’s installation Neon Forms (after Noh) (2015–19), in which he used neon lights to transpose the precise movements of Noh theatre pieces, an artform for the stage perfected in Japan in the fourteenth century. This inquiry into language is central to the artist’s work, is also expressed through the titles given to each piece, which offer yet another level of reading, triggering a multitude of cross-references and meanings.

Focus Areas
• The Italian language
• Geometry
• Art and Imagery

Educational Objectives
The purpose of this activity is to explain to the students one of the key features of Cerith Wyn Evans’s artistic practice, namely to involve his audience in a constant process of translation and transposition of languages, codes, and shifts in time, leading to a sort of of sensory disorientation and short-circuit as the visitor proceeds through the installation. The idea is to teach his young audience to “translate” and “transform” what the letters they see into visual and aural codes so as to develop the ability to identify and read stratified elements that belong to different areas of expertise.

Activities
After their trip through the installation, the youngsters will be shown “alphabets” that differ from the written one they are used to, such as smoke signals, Morse Code (involving both visuals and sounds), hieroglyphs, and ideograms. Each class of students will be subdivided into small study groups that will receive a set of letters of the written alphabet by the Art Tutors, which will first be translated into geometrical elements, and then transformed into sounds. In the closing phase of the session the studens will describe their personal perception of the exhibition in their own words, and then translate this description using the new languages they have learned in the process.

Stellar Myths

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
For the opening of Pirelli HangarBicocca in 2004, the German artist Anselm Kiefer created an installation called The Seven Heavenly Palaces, to which in September 2015 he added five large canvases that give new meaning to his original work.
In the form of constellations, meteorites and stars, the celestial sphere is the protagonist of the stories told by the towers and paintings.

Focus Areas

  • Italian
  • History
  • Science
  • Art and image

Educational Objectives
During the guided tour with the arts tutors, the children will find out more about the celestial sphere, through stories about constellations, meteorites and stars.
The aim of this activity is to help the children find out how the heavenly bodies can lead to different interpretations, depending on the terms of reference, which may be artistic, mythological or scientific.

Activities
Starting with a reading of myths and legends about the constellations, each participant will be asked to make one of their own, using the materials provided.
At the end of the activity, the works will be placed next to each other to create the idea of a great sky, where different sets of stars – all telling different stories – can coexist harmoniously.

 

A Great Multi-Material Picture

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
In September 2015, eleven years after it was unveiled, the permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces was complemented by five large paintings, which Anselm Kiefer had made between 2009 and 2013. These works give new meaning to the towers, expanding the issues they address: great architectural constructions of the past appear as man’s attempt to ascend to the divine, but they also examine the history of the West, the constellations in the form of astronomical numbers and, lastly, man’s relationship with nature.Since the 1970s, the German artist has been using materials such as lead, wood, sand, straw and seeds to create his paintings, giving them a dense, material consistency.

Focus Areas

  • Art and image
  • History

Educational Objectives
During the guided tour with the arts tutors, the children will find out what materials Anselm Kiefer used when making the five large paintings in the exhibition space and what the significance of each one is.
The aim of the activity is to show the pupils how crucial the choice of a material is for creating a work of art, since it brings about new visual forms, new compositions and new stories to interpret.

Activities
The class will be divided into groups during the workshop and each one will make their own multi-material painting, taking inspiration from the paintings in the exhibition, and using the materials provided, which will include sand, seeds, straw and bits of wood.
At the end of the session, the works will be placed next to each other to create just a single vast canvas.

 

Numbers on Towers!

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
As well as having their own mathematical value, numbers can also have symbolic value and thus be open to a number of interpretations: numbers are such an intrinsic part of daily life that we often fail to notice their importance. And yet, since the most ancient times, they have played a fundamental role in enriching and giving meaning and value to the most magnificent works of art. In Anselm Kiefer’s The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 we find many references to the world of numbers: the repetition of individual modules, the use of the double, the choice of the number seven, the presence of long series of numbers on pieces of glass, the numbering of strange rocks, and more besides. The children will discover how a number used apparently randomly can bring with it a whole array of mean­ings, whether universal or subjective, immediate or hidden, shared or personal.

Focus Areas
• Languages, creativity, expression
• Numbers
• Knowledge of the world

Educational Objectives
This activity helps children find out about and enter into the world of numbers in a simple, direct way. They will need to look very carefully at the work and find elements linked to the world of numbers, such as the modules and multiples, and the presence of doubles. The significance of numbers in the work will be investigated, linking them to what the pupils have already learnt at school and bringing out the multiple range of concepts that numbers represent.

Activities
Starting out from identifying important numbers that are significant in their daily lives, the children will examine how important numbers are for recognising and understanding the world around them. During the workshop activities, each child will be able to make a cube into which they can insert all the numbers that are important in their lives, linked to their personal lives or to school, and they will be helped to give these numbers the right level of importance. Starting out from this cubic module, which is the same for everyone, the class will together make a construction, taking inspiration from Kiefer’s towers, or creating new surprising forms. Starting out from their individual works, the children will then be invited to create a collective work in which the individual “voices” come together in a choral composition. This will give value to the contributions of each child, whose individual peculiarities will gradually decide the shape of the collective work.

Chasing a Star

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
The installation is a perfect scene in which to imagine fantastical stories and help children discover the depths of the sky and take a close look at its inhabitants: stars. The artist has chosen them as the guardians of one of the towers, presenting them in the form of shards of glass. But what are stars really like? Where do they come from? Do they live forever?

Focus Areas
• Sciences
• Motor and sports sciences

Educational Objectives
Through play, children will learn a complex concept such as that of the birth of the stars. They will learn what they actually look like (the points are a convention invented by humans to draw them), the matter composing them, why they shine and their life cycle. They will also learn that heat comes from the agitation of gas and dust particles, simulating their movement and heating action through play.

Activities
The explanation of the birth of a star is introduced directly during the visit of The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015. Back at the workshop, the student will actively participate in the “birth” of a star, in order to understand together – starting from the basics – the complex creation of these heavenly bodies. This workshop can be integrated with a story (the story of Thomas) to get the children involved and spark their imagination.

Further information

We Are History

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
Anselm Kiefer has always been acknowledged as “the artist of history”, particularly German history, because his works originate from profound reflection on memory and on “how to remember”. Each of us has an individual history full of events and encounters that have determined our path: The idea is thus to help young people understand that their personalities are influenced by an array of factors that this activity aims to bring out.

Focus Areas

• Geography
• Italian
• Religion
• History

Educational Objectives
The workshop aims to underscore the importance of individual history, as well as personal and family memories as the constituent elements of collective memory. The child will become aware that his or her personality is the outcome of personal experience and that existence goes beyond the present and is irrevocably bound to the history of his or her own context.

Activities
Starting with the reflection on the importance of memory in the language of Anselm Kiefer, students will be asked to identify people, places or things that are particularly significant to them. They will be asked to imagine that they are picking up Anselm Kiefer’s Falling Pictures and to think about what they would like to see represented inside the frames. Using recycled material that is provided to them, each child will create his own picture and “content”. When everyone has made their pictures they will build a tower with boxes and use it to hang their works. Anselm Kiefer’s pictures will thus be picked up and put back in place!

The Towers Tell a Story (second cycle)

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
When making his work, Anselm Kiefer was profoundly inspired by the idea of the tower in history, with many references to the architecture of the past, but especially to its symbolic value. His towers, which each consist of between five and seven modules, testify to what remains after every conflict. Their precarious look does indeed make them appear like ruins, as the memory of a by no means distant past, or the foreboding of a possible future. When looking at them, some have wondered: “Are they the remains of an ancient city, an industrial settlement or of a village with asbestos-cement roofs?” There is no single answer to this question, for there can be many interpretations and everyone can apply their own imagination to them.

Focus Areas

• Italian
• History
• Art and image

Educational Objectives
The activity is designed to show the kids a different approach to history, letting them discover how the same architectural forms may be repeated in every age, but with different functions, depending on the particular historical period. Having them build a tower of their own to reflect their world and their needs, and choosing a particular historical period for this, is designed to include them actively in the flow of time and make them the manual creators of a past that will testify to the present. Individual work and a spirit of cooperation between classmates will also be developed.

Activities
At the beginning of the activity, the kids will be shown pictures of various towers that have been built throughout the course of history, from ancient lookout towers to bell towers, minarets and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, through to towers of distant cultures and the modern towers of our cities, such as skyscrapers and chimneys. The class will then be divided into groups and each one will be asked to invent a tower, taking inspiration from the ones they have seen together, imagining what it might look like and be used for, and what functions it might have. The students will decide whether to take inspiration from a historical tower or to make one that might suit their present needs.