Mapping Exhibition 2023

La Baracca - Testoni Ragazzi Theatre, in partnership with Bologna Children's Book Fair, presents the "Mapping Exhibition 2023," an exhibition of illustrations looking at how literature for early childhood relates to the performing arts for the very young.

The exhibition is part of " Mapping. A Map on the Aesthetics of the Performing Arts for Early Years," a four-year artistic research project supported by the European Union. Carried out by artists and researchers in children's theatre, the project looked into the "sensitive relationship" created between artists and children aged zero to six during a performance, whether theatre, concert or any other event.

The "Mapping Exhibition" consists of two different sections: 140 works by the winning illustrators of the four editions* of "The Children-Spectators" - viewable in the BCBF Galleries - and "The Illustrated Map," presented here, made up of 34 illustrations by four world-renowned illustrators: Katsumi Komagata (Japan), Manuel Marsol (Spain), Fabian Negrin (Italy), and Klaas Verplancke (Belgium).

Underpinning the Mapping project is the idea that children should, from birth, be considered as complete human beings and not as human beings in the making, citizens and spectators of the present with a right to enjoy high quality artistic products from a very young age, in recognition of their entitlement to full citizenship status.

The Mapping research project can be described as a process entailing many generative questions geared to commence a “mapping” of the aesthetic dimension in the very young. A Map of 24 questions was drawn up on the sensitive relationship between the young child and the artist, indicating and reflecting on the significant elements of this rapport and the fundamentals of the performing arts.

The works presented here are the interpretations of the four artists.

Mapping was designed and coordinated by La Baracca - Testoni Ragazzi, Theatre for Children and Young Children of Bologna, in partnership with Bologna Children's Book Fair/ BolognaFiere and 16/17 other partners from as many European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Poland, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden and Hungary. The partnership involved theaters, cultural institutions and artists with long experience in the field of art and the performing arts for the very young.

*Over the four years since it began in 2019 with the aim of visualizing the relationship between very young children and the arts, the annual illustration contest "The Children-Spectators" produced 2,364 works by illustrators from 72 countries. 140 of these will be shown during at the Children's Book Fair as part of "Mapping Exhibition 2023". The illustrations on display are by 129 artists, 36 from Italy, and 93 from 34 other countries around the world.