Pen To Paper: Inside The Chaotic Circus Of 'Run As Slow As You Can' Exhibition

Pen To Paper: Inside The Chaotic Circus Of 'Run As Slow As You Can' Exhibition

The exhibit’s title, "Run as Slow as You Can," encapsulates the experience to perfection.

Khushee MangalUpdated: Saturday, April 13, 2024, 06:23 PM IST
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Khushee Mangal | Special Arrangement

Ah, "Run as Slow as You Can" –the banana-taped-to-the-wall virtuoso strikes again! Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari have teamed up to deliver an art experience that's so maximalist, it makes a pineapple in a blue tutu look like a minimalist piece. Recently I attended an exhibit in Mumbai, courtesy of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural centre, and let me tell you, it was a rollercoaster of bananas and questionable parenting. 

First things first, the exhibit’s title, "Run as Slow as You Can," encapsulates the experience to perfection. I found myself moving at a pace comparable to a sloth on sedatives because, honestly, there was just so much to take in, but not necessarily in a good way. 

As I made my way through the four floors, I couldn't help but notice the hordes of people treating the art like it was the backdrop of a glamorous selfie shoot. 

Abandon any hope of savouring the nuanced details of the dadaist artwork; the crowd was too engrossed in their quest for the perfect angle, striking poses with pouts and peace signs. Witnessing someone daringly venture into the realm of banana-based avant-garde, attempting a duck-face with the fruit, was a surreal moment in itself. 

Then there were the kids,*inhales to gather herself* oh, the kids. It was like a chaotic playground where the art wasn’t just admired; it was practically a jungle gym. The slimy little Picasso wannabes were treating the installations like their personal art supplies, tossing things around like confetti at a New Year's Eve party. 

Let me delight you with an incident that left my jaw on the floor. My dear mom, ever the art connoisseur, witnessed a child excavating items from the display and launching them at her brother like mini-cannons. Concerned for both art and sibling safety, she logically approached a security guard, pointing out the microscopic vandal. Appalled, we watched as the guard confronted the parents, they blared in unison, "Excuse me we know how to parent our child!" It was like witnessing a live performance of "The Art of Ignoring Parenthood: A symphony in insubordination." 

Navigating this peculiar gallery space, swarming with selfie aficionados and pocket-sized art terrorists, metamorphosed into a literal nightmare for someone like me, a proud card-carrying member of the social anxiety club. Attempting to savour the nuances of the artwork amidst the chaos of fish-faced posers and miniature (i’m sure professionally certified) art critics tossing parts of the exhibit around felt like trying to find eternal peace in a circus led by overly caffeinated clowns. Wearing an imaginary sign that read, "Proceed with caution– especially if flinging a banana," seemed almost essential. Even Dalí, I'm sure, never had to navigate such a whirlwind of chaos in his artistic pursuits. Welcome to the immersive experience of dodging hyperactive kids and evading fired up selfie sticks; an abysmal challenge that even Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari might not have anticipated. 

In the end, "Run as Slow as You Can" wasn't just an art exhibit; it was a social experiment in just how far people can push the boundaries of gallery etiquette. Spoiler alert: quite far. The only thing more surreal than the art itself was the human display surrounding it.

(This review is part of the winning reviews published in the Pen to Paper contest hosted by The Free Press Journal annually . This exclusive contest is open to teenagers only)

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