If you gave your kids £7000 to spend on whatever they wanted, how do you think they would spend it? Adopt a range of wild animals to keep in the garden? A trip to Disneyworld? Maybe deck out their bedroom with every piece of technology imaginable?
Well artist Pilvi Takala did exactly that with the members of one London youth centre, as part of her project The Committee. The result was a custom-made bouncy castle called “Five Star Bouncy House”, created for their own enjoyment as well as providing the opportunity to be hired out to raise much-needed funds for their club.
More than three years later, in an exhibition for the Pumphouse Gallery, Takala revisits the group to hear their thoughts and feelings following the centre’s closure due to funding cuts. She also reflects on what that piece now means for the children, and for society, in the wake of its demise.
The artist’s documentary forms the main part of the exhibition, but more exciting perhaps for visiting families, is the bouncy castle itself, which is free (yes free!) to explore (yes! bounce around on!) every weekend until 26th March.
There is no age restriction in relation to who can get involved in the inflatable fun, but every visitor will be assessed by attendants, and poor weather conditions might also scupper plans.
That said, every other Sunday from 15th January there will be a series of interactive family workshops with artist-cum-anthropologist Emma McGarry. These are free to drop in to and explore a range of themes from safety, the power of words, freedom and play. It also goes without saying that the grounds of Battersea Park where the gallery is housed, is fabulous all year round, with a recently refurbished children’s playground, a peace pagoda, its own zoo and close proximity to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Pilvi Takala is exhibiting until 26th March
Pumphouse Gallery, Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ
Weds to Sun 11am – 5pm, closed Mon and Tues and when no exhibition is on
Five Star Bouncy House is weekends only, weather permitting