Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Four Year Old Prodigies - Better Believe It

Aelita Andre - Four Year Old Prodigy (not mine!)
Did you see that video of the child prodigy abstract impressionist whose first solo exhibition is opening this week in New York? She is no more of an artist than the next kid, but what a lucky ducky to have such a cool studio space, an apparently limitless budget for acrylics and a collection of punky princess clothes that mommy lets her trash.  Makes me feel a bit square for insisting my kids put on their plastic aprons, sit at the table and not spill their thimble-fulls of finger paint.

"Do not spill your thimble-full of finger paint!".  Say that ten times, I dare you.  With tongue-twisting skills like these, little wonder I birthed a prodigy of my own, of the existential philosopher variety.

Tonight's dinner time question was "What does it feel like to be dead?", but Little Bear's most common question is "Does that exist?".  He's trying to figure out where the line is drawn between reality and fantasy, and asks this in relation to anything from monsters, angels, knights in armour, the Easter story, jellyfish and fairies to ghosts.  These things have pretty straightforward answers - they either definitively do, definitively don't or nobody knows so you can just decide (and I'll let you decide which falls into which category).  But things start to get complicated when he points to representations (or misrepresentations) of things in photographs, magazines, billboard ads, films, TV programs and illustrations.  I find myself embarking on lengthy attempts to demystify the film industry ("That's an actor darling, pretending to be someone else, telling an imaginary story that was written by a writer, filmed by a cameraman" etc) or the advertising industry ("That's a photo of something real, photo-shopped by a graphic designer and made into something pretty unreal" etc), but my responses always fall short of his complete satisfaction.

We went to the Instituto Moreira Salles recently (our default rainy day in Rio routine) to see an exhibition of video portraits by Robert Wilson.  We're talking high-res flat screens with what appear to be stills of celebrities, until you notice that parts of the picture change.  Little Bear was completely entranced (so was I by the way, especially by the work featuring Brad Pitt in his underpants ) and of course he asked 'Do they really exist?".  My explanation was that yes, it was a real person who really exists, and this was a video of them.  When little bear wondered 'How do they eat?' I realised that he thought the people were actually stuck in a box up on the wall, behind a glass screen.  And why not?

That's what is so genius about all four year old kids; their total ignorance.  They haven't got a clue about what is likely to be real, what is clearly not, or any of the practical reasons why Brad Pitt wouldn't really be stuck in a box in the gallery.  They don't know how things should or shouldn't be done, and no concept of any of the boundaries that separate their imaginations from the world around them.  It must be magical living in a world where everything seems possible - including four year olds having their own gallery shows.  Prodigies or not, they have a lot to teach us...not least that it's okay to for them to get paint all over their pretty clothes.


  1. they do have a tendency of surprising you once in a while. i also have a 4yr old who would suddenly read a word aloud, that is, a word that I haven't taught him yet. They are amazing. Of course, since my son is one of them.

  2. Hi ok she is adorable and she definitely has talent, but do I think her paintings should be getting international recognition and being placed in New York galleries? No I don't I don't think they are that good. Technically she is throwing brightly colored paint onto a canvas tons of kids can do that.

    I just don't get the big hoopla I mean their are other artist who have been training for years that can paint better than this but no one will every give them any recognition. I am not saying she is not going to grow into a huge artist someday I just think we should wait longer to see what develops before people start paying thousands of dollars for a painting. I wouldn't buy one.

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  4. I just aren't getting this massive nonsense What i'm saying is the are some other musician who've been instruction for years that can paint a lot better than this specific although no-one may just about every provide them with any kind of recognition. I'm not really saying your lover isn't apple ibeacon going to expand into a big musician one of these days I just believe our nation delay lengthier to determine exactly what develops just before folks start paying out thousands of dollars for just a portray. My spouse and i wouldn't acquire just one.

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