Fröbel Inspired Books, 2007
Research and Development
altered books; dimensions variable
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 take the form of “found objects,” which serve to highlight the parallels between Fröbel’s concepts and modernist ideals. Fröbel Inspired Books plays into the exploration of the development of an “archive” of an unknown kindergartner. The altered and defaced pages are presented as subversive manifestations of an educator carrying out the exercises of the first Occupation (Perforating) onto books written at a time when such practices would have been considered unorthodox.