At the initiative of MAMA, a special exhibition was opened at the Kids Headquarters of Rotterdam 2001, European Cultural Capital (Villa Zebra) by a a well-known Dutch celebrity, Purno de Purno.

Purno de Purno is a digital character that became known around the world via the ‘Villa Achterwerk’ on the VPRO Youth Television channel.

For the exhibition MAMA invited 12 artists to do ‘portraits’ of Purno. They came form all possible disciplines: photography, architecture, fashion design and animation. The result was a kaleidoscopic cacophony of impressions. It reached out to children trying to express itself through a range of possibilities. In the exhibition ‘Purno Poses!’ the little visitors were dared by Purno not only to look; above all else they needed to do things.

Thus the new media artist Geert Mul and the animators Cosh and Arno Coenen built a real drum set for Purno. If one played on this drum set, film sequences by the animators appeared. Thus one could create a unique film –projected on 6 different screens- with each beat on the drums. The kids could jump and dance nicely to the latest Purno smash hit, ‘Si Sa So Sapperdosio!’ in the ‘Boombox’ by architect duo Marc & Nicole Maurer.

Purno de Purno and his magical universe didn’t only speak to kids. Over the years he has grown into something of a cult figure for many a father and mother, aunt and uncle. It should be easy to see that the exhibition was made for the whole family.

Purno Teaches!
In May 2002, the experimental phase of the Purno project ended. Children were listened to carefully about what they felt or about what that took from the exhibition. Afterwards, all secondary schools in Rotterdam were invited by Purno and the Rotterdam Foundation for Artistic Education (Stichting Kunstzinnige Vorming Rotterdam), SKVR to take part in the educational part of the project, ‘Purno Teaches!’.

MAMA had asked the SKVR to develop a series of workshops together with artists specially for the middle and senior groups to engage with Purno in entirely their own way. The central schools in the city would be invited to come and participate in the exhibition. The classes went to visit Villa Zebra and were encouraged to make works of art within the class itself, to make t-shirts or design animations themselves.

Since travelling is a problem for many children, Purno went to the kids who ultimately lived too far from the centre of Rotterdam. From September 2002, the whole exhibition was packed into two containers and went on tour to the most outlying neighbourhoods of Rotterdam such as Hoogvliet and Hoek van Holland.

Curated by Boris van Berkum & Jeroen Everaert with the contribution of Geert Mul, Cosh, Arno Coenen, Robert Rosenau & Andy Metscher Snotnose, Hans Kieviet, Hans van Bentem, Pepijn van den Nieuwendijk, MUA Maurer United Architects (Marc & Nicole Maurer), Edwin Hagedoorn, Leo de Veld & Mischa Oudwater.




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