An exhibition curated by a fashion designer (J. Anderson) covering art, fashion, ceramics and design was an intriguing prospect. Fashion is an alien world to me, something I have never understood or followed!
The first thing that strikes you as you enter the space is the use of curtains to divide up the exhibition space, instantly giving a cosier space than the stark sterile white of many gallery spaces. The works are then laid out in a series of themes, although these are quite loose (and I didn’t always agree with the placement of objects into them). What I found fascinating was how he placed groups of works together.
A ‘bustle coat’ by Yohji Yamamoto echoing the shape of ‘Metamorphosis, 1984’ by William Turnball:
‘Teddy Boy and Girl, 1979’ by Lynn Chadwick was complemented by similarly angular garments by Junya Watanbe (‘Architectural dress’) and Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood (‘Witches Dress’ and ‘Witches Trench Coat’):
A collection of Sarah Flynn ceramics sharing many characteristics with garments by JW Anderson:
These pairings show the artistic processes of picking ideas and inspiration from diverse sources. It is curated with a very broad-minded approach, resulting in an exhibition that should be of interest to everyone.
Two last items I wanted to comment on, firstly the immersive ’28 Jumpers’ by JW Anderson. This was a display of oversized jumpers which the public are invited to interact with. It had similarities to Phyllida Barlow’s ‘untitled: screestage, 2013’ which you were able to walk under, but added the tactile experience of being able to touch and interact (or play) with the exhibit. This is something which seems to be becoming more popular (e.g. touching exhibits in York Art Gallery) and something I think works well with sculpture which often has a tactile element to be experienced.
Lastly, a piece I didn’t like was ‘Bunny Gets Snookered #9, 1997’ by Sarah Lucas. I find the stuffed tights she uses in her works disturbing, like distorted flesh. Her work might have an important message to get across, but I do wonder if it works? I think I need to have beauty in works of art, I feel that there are enough ugly things in the world without adding to them! Perhaps sometimes the message is everything though and I just haven’t found an issue which is important to me enough to protest against?!