Rififi: Jean Jullien for Kids NGV Triennial

Sun 3rd December, 2023 – Sun 14th April, 2024
NGV International 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Kids can dive under the sea at the French artist’s ocean-themed exhibition, which is “like being immersed in a big drawing”.

Renowned graphic artist and designer Jean Jullien’s first Australian exhibition has opened as part of NGV International’s 2023 NGV Triennial

In Rififi: Jean Jullien for Kids, he channels early memories of fishing with his great-grandfather and catching lobsters every summer growing up to create an immersive underwater seascape for kids and families. Designed in the artist’s signature drawing style, with thick black brushstrokes and bold palettes, Rififi is a multisensory labyrinth of pastel-coloured sea life, allowing children to dive head-first into his whimsical aquatic world.

Jullien drew inspiration from international and Australian sea life when developing the exhibition. Illustrations of jellyfish cover the walls, fish mobiles hang from the ceiling, a bench shaped like an eel sits in one corner and a large, illustrated spider crab guards the entry to the room.

Adding to the immersive dynamic, the experience is enhanced with a soundscape and a series of sound effects, produced by Jullien’s brother Nicolas. Visitors can also purchase a new NGV Kids book, Who lives in the sea?, published specifically for the exhibition, that familiarises early readers with the artist’s drawings of different ocean species.

Rififi features an Underwater Drawing Club, where kids can draw their own sea animals and a relaxation room where they can kick back on plush pink starfish mats. They can also don a fish-shaped costume and “swim” around the room, collecting illustrated pieces of ocean rubbish and placing them in a bin.

While the ecological sentiment is important for visitors of all ages, Jullien believes children are particularly receptive – and he sees creative mediums as a great way to engage them. As the largest NGV Kids exhibition to date, Rififi is also a chance to promote environmental stewardship across future generations in an approachable yet impactful way.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of the NGV.