Chio TV Party, 2008
Research and Development
thread, tetra-paks; 10 x 12 inches
This is one of many projects based on the ideas of Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852), the German educator who designed, implemented and named the first kindergarten program. Fröbel’s program fashioned itself around a philosophy of unity, leading children to manipulate materials through various exercises (called “Gifts” and “Occupations”) to address forms of nature, knowledge and beauty. Key modernist architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, passed through the program in its heyday, and some writers have made the case that it provided the seed-pearl of modernism.
Through an intimate exploration and reinvention of Fröbel’s exercises, Clark Espinal’s contemporary manifestations highlight the parallels between Fröbel’s concepts and modernist ideals. Chio TV Party is a contemporary take on the exercises of Fröbel’s second Occupation (Sewing-Out). In this work, based on a Lego sculpture designed by the artist’s daughter, Clark Espinal inserts the popular building block toy into the vocabulary of modernism. Its unitized materials and grid-inspired structure are presented as elements that fit into the philosophies of both Fröbel’s program and modernist architectural practices in equal measure.