The Mouse and his Child

Studio Morison

22 Feb – 28 April 2019

For NOW Gallery’s 2019 Design commission, creative duo Studio Morison will create a sculptural space containing a library of children’s fiction written by adult fiction authors, named after the children’s novel The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban. The book and the differing affect it has on children and adults encapsulates the curious nuanced experience of reading children’s literature as an adult.

This exhibition will explore the relationship between adulthood and childhood through authors such as Ursula Le Guin, John Steinbeck, Mary Shelley, Virginia Wolf, Oscar Wilde, Leo Tolstoy, Spike Milligan, Salman Rushdie, James Joyce, Umberto Eco, and so on. Through a diverse programme of literary events, the children’s library will become a place to discuss, discover, listen and read.

The gallery space will be transformed into a sculptural and functional space, stepping between art and design practices. Central to the exhibition will be a lit sculptural form, surrounded by bespoke stools, tables and a rug for lying on. Benches will be clustered for sitting and reading alone or in groups. The library will be placed in and around the sculptural installation, upending the notion of bookshelves and interacting directly with the objects. The aesthetic will manifest this unexpected literature blind spot, drawing both adult and children readers alike and creating a space of warmth that speaks of child-like things with an adult undercurrent, just like the books themselves.

Coinciding with the exhibition will be a series of literary events hosted by NOW Gallery which will further explore the themes of adulthood and childhood in fiction including Virginia Woolf – The Widow and The Parrot, Margaret Attwood – Rude Ramsey and the Roaring Radishes, and Spike Milligan – Bad Jelly. These nights will range from lectures to book clubs, from spoken word nights to literary dinners, each event drawing from a particular children’s book in the library, and welcoming both adults and children of all ages.