Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Frank Gehry Pavilion

The Frank Gehry Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery was spectacular. It is made of glass, steel and titanium and forms a space for concerts, talks and meeting. The contrast of the light wood and etched glass is very pleasing and makes the building feel light and open.

Hyperbolic crochet coral reef

This exhibition confused me, I wasn’t sure what the point of it was. Margaret and Christine Wertheim use crochet to depict hyperbolic geometric forms, the structure of which is beautiful and very interesting. Christine then noticed the similarity of these forms to corals and since then they have developed this community reef project with audience participation. What confused me is that the work is no longer scientific (the hyperbolic forms are decorated, the ‘corals’ are not based on actual species) and nor is it art. It seems to be popular though and lots of people are keen to take part so as a community project it works well, but as an exhibition it left me completely cold.

Psycho Buildings

This exhibition at the Hayward shows the works of artists who create habitat-like structures. Some were more successful than others. The picture shows the roof of Tomas Saraceno’s Observatory. We went into this transparent dome and sat on the floor and observed people moving about in the layer above us supported by a pillow of air, it was warm and relaxing and rather like swimming with the movements above us. Rachel Whiteread’s Place (Village), a collection of dolls houses lit from inside in a dark room, worked well and gave you the feeling that they were inhabited. On the other hand I felt the Mike Nelson’s installation didn’t quite work. It comprised two adjoining rooms that had been smashed up and were supposed to be like a set for a non existent film. However I felt the damage was too contrived and all at the same level round the walls, rather than a real accident. I thought the exhibition was well staged and the layout was interesting - you didn’t know what you were going to come across round the corner and different paths led you to different places, which maintained your interest all round the exhibition.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


This exhibition by the Textile Forum South West Group showed work developed from artefacts in museums. Several of the artists had chosen lace or clothing as their starting point and it was interesting to see where it had led them. The centre piece of the show was a large circular textile canopy by Sarah le Breton, made of wire including LED lights and using the technique of Irish crochet. Sue Bradley had used black knitted wire lace on one of her garments and Janet Haigh had enamelled images of lace white work and incorporated them with stitch to make modern samplers.

Fabric of myth

This fascinating exhibition at Compton Verney explores the significance of textiles in classical mythology. There were some older works depicting the traditional Greek myths involving threads and weaving and some modern works on the same theme. One of the most interesting galleries contained works that had been made by people in institutions and showed how they used their work to reach beyond the confined space of its production. The section on weaving memory showed how cloth takes on the circumstances of its construction and communicates across time. Cloth is used to maintain personal and cultural memory.

New Designers

This was an excellent show and I made copious notes and collected loads of postcards and business cards. I picked up lots of ideas for techniques I could use for my net curtain lace, including using pins, staples, ribbons and laser cutting. There was a lot of laser cutting some of it very complicated and interesting and some of it quite simple. I liked the installation by Debbie Smyth of electricity pylons made out of pins and threads, it was very lace like. The work of Lauren Gilberthorpe was also interesting because she uses erotic images to produce repeat designs.

Lace biennale

The biennale exhibition in the gymnasium in Vamberk was excellent. There was a lot of non traditional work this year including this piece made using a glue gun and other pieces using metal and Perspex. Eva Damborska also had a piece in the exhibition made of recycled materials. The traditional pieces were amazing and showed interesting use of stitches and threads. Most of the collars and shawls were displayed hanging from one point which gave them an interesting three dimensional look but made them difficult to photograph.

Exhibition at Lanskrou

The exhibition at Lanskrou showed the work of Hana Kozubova. Her work was varied and included stylised pictorial pieces of buildings, linen hangings that had been slit with lace included in them and some tapestries. My favourite pieces were three panels entitled Zrozeni triptych of interesting morn bobbin lace. I liked the way she had combined different stitches and reworked traditional stitches, there was a lot to mull over in the pieces.

Alena Cechova’s exhibition

This exhibition was also in the Castle at Rychnov. I had seen some of Alena’s work before at the Lace Museum but it was good to see it more closely. She works in needle lace and darned net. I like the way she combines threads to make interesting colour combinations and give depth to her work. I am also interested in the themes behind her work, she was exhibiting a series based on the French lady and the unicorn tapestries and had some other works showing people trapped and trying to escape.

Eva Damborska’s exhibition

This exhibition was held at Rychnov Castle and we were lucky enough to attend the preview evening after the fashion show and meet Eva Damborska. She explained that all her work is made from recycled materials. I liked her work and was interested in the use she had made of paper. Most of her work is on a large scale and a lot of it is made in units that she combines to make a larger whole, something I like to do in my own work.

Fashion show at Rychnov Castle

This fashion show takes place in the Riding School at Rychnov. It is accompanied by music and uses professional models and dancers. It is always interesting to see how they display the clothes. This year they were using collars as belts and shawls as skirts. Many of the clothes are produced by the fashion students from Prague.

Lace Museum at Vamberk

We spent most of the first day sketching in the Museum. On the ground floor there was a new display of work by Milca Eremiasova. A lot of her new work consists of flat forms that have been manipulated to make three dimensional shapes. I prefer her older more detailed work which depicts drapery so beautifully. Upstairs the modern lace display had been restage since we were last there.

Vamberk trip

We travelled to Vamberk for the biennial lace meeting and exhibition from 26 to 30 June 2008. We stayed at the Hotel Havel in Rychnov and this piece by Eva Filarova is in the hotel lobby there. There were several interesting international stands at the meeting and an exhibition by Marina Regueiro, Maria Bissacco Cociani, and Jana Stefkova. Marina showed traditional Spanish lace, Maria exhibited some lovely shawls, bags and clothes decorated with lace, and Jana showed some of her work including her head pieces made of interesting braids, some of which I sketched in the Museum.