Exhibition: The House of Fairy Tales, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, October 23 – December 31 2010
© Enrico David
When writer Deborah Curtis and artist Gavin Turk's alliance House of Fairy Tales was invited to hatch its parallel fantasy land for children at Camp Bestival this year, festival organiser Rob da Bank said he’d be taking time out from messing around with some of the biggest bands in the world to get involved himself.
"In terms of an inspirational interactive art, music, kids and fun factory it doesn't get any better," he said, championing their "fantastic mini-happenings" and admitting he "couldn't wait to give it all a whirl."
When they were given their own 24-page guide to keeping young minds whirring in The Times, Turk said the idea was borne out of his realisation that "I have to bribe or trick my kids into going to art galleries."
"I got a phone call asking me to come to Victoria Park to make a snow sculpture, so me and the kids went and built this giant egg," he recalled.
"The next day there it was in Times2 – a great big picture story with everyone saying 'look at Gavin Turk's egg' and a bit on how to make your own sleigh next to it. What a great way to distribute art and engage people, I thought."
It helps that Turk can call on some of the most imaginative names in art to contribute, from ships in bottles courtesy of Yinka Shonibare to works by Sir Peter Blake, Paula Rego, Fiona Banner, Cornelia Parker and Rachel Whiteread among the 21 names taking part in the Preston edition.
The aim is to stimulate thoughts and dreams in place of barrages of information, with each artist interpreting the notion of the fairytale as a "metaphor and moral barometer".
Having proved a weekend winner at Tate Modern, Latitude and Glastonbury, this edition of art with a difference is assured a similar welcome reception in the North-West.