Thursday, 22 September 2011

London Trip

Two days in London overdosing on art, design and craft;

'Portraits in the Making' was great - a fantastic eclectic mix of work in the beautiful setting of the Pitzhanger House and Gallery. I loved when walking around the house how some of the objects starkly stood out of place in their setting, while others sat quietly as if they had always been there and would always be there. Those objects were harder to spot as they were so relaxed in their setting. In both circumstances the objects demanded attention and were inviting you to respond to them.

The 'Power of Making' was very interesting and heaving!! Great to see so many people visiting the exhibition though, especially all the younger audiences. Hopefully getting inspired and hooked on materials and making!! I felt the display of work was celebrating the extremes of making, showing people how far the material could be stretched and how far the artists are willing to push it. It reminded me of the ostentatiousness of The Great Exhibition in 1851. There were so many eclectic and outrageously over the top objects on display, showing off the technology we had available at the time. Never mind whether we needed a 50 blade penknife, with technology we could make one and we would make one. The ‘Power of Making’ showed the extreme possibilities of materials and making and hopefully will lead to a new generation of makers who are excited to explore the qualities of those materials and their uses. I was a bit surprised how small the exhibition was though and it meant not everything was covered and was very disappointed there was nothing about ceramics, which I thought was a bit strange! The best bit was the videos of people, playing up on the walls on big screens, real intense close-up shots of people in the moment of making. There was one where a group of men were sitting in a circle hammering in unison a metal bowl, while one man spun the wheel it was turning on. It was mind blowing that these 6 people could work in unison to shape the bowl, it was like watching a human machine turning, absolutely stunning!! None of the men wore shoes and how they didn't miss the bowl and batter their feet is beyond me!

My highlight was the stunning and hugely comprehensive display of ceramics on the 6th floor of the V & A - totally awe inspiring!! And as usual there's just not enough hours in the day, one of these days I am going to camp out in that room for at least a month!! Another treat was the beautifully curated display of religious relics and reliquaries in the 'Treasures of Heaven' exhibition at the British Museum, very atmospheric and definitely worth a visit.

And to top it all a fantastic two hours spent engulfed in all the fabulous talent at the Origin preview night - shattered now!!