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The upcoming international exhibition Klee and Cobra: A Child’s Play will see the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen team up with the Developmental Psychology programme group at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

The upcoming international exhibition Klee and Cobra: A Child’s Play will see the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen team up with the Developmental Psychology programme group at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). UvA researchers from this group will be involved both in conducting scientific research and in the programme for museum visitors. Both activities link up with the exhibition’s theme, focusing on the shared fascination that Paul Klee (1879-1940) and the Cobra group (1948-1951) had for the wondrous world of children’s imagination and the strong influence Klee exerted on the Cobra movement.

By approaching the theme from the added perspective of developmental psychology, the exhibition reveals where and how art and psychology intersect. In so doing, the Cobra Museum is also responding to growing interest in childlike expression.

Scientific research

The Cobra Museum has developed two studies in coordination with the UvA researchers which tie in which the theme of the exhibition. Both call for audience participation.

Research lab in the museum and at schools
For the first study, the museum will open a special ‘It starts off as a child’ lab. In it, children will be directed to perform a few simple tasks connected with the study. The tasks are designed to challenge participants to think flexibly in different ways and require them to listen to a story, answer several questions and make a few drawings. The UvA researchers hope to use the study to show that explicit knowledge about a subject influences how flexible we are in thinking about it.

Online experiment
The second experiment will be conducted online and will compare subjective experiences of works by Paul Klee and children’s drawings. Participants will be asked to score Klee’s works and the children’s drawings on five dimensions: skill, originality, valence, cheerful character and appeal. The online experiment will be accessible for the duration of the exhibition (28 January until 22 April 2012) at www.cobra-museum.nl/psychologie.

The results of both studies will be presented on the website of the Cobra Museum (see link below) at the end of the exhibition.

Visitor’s programme

In addition to the scientific study, a range of activities that take a psychological perspective on the exhibition theme will be organised for visitors during the course of the exhibition.

An overview of all activities being organised in connection with Klee and Cobra will be posted on the website of the Cobra Museum (see link below) at the end of December 2011.