Friday 14 December 2007

Tutankhamun exhibition

One of my favourite pieces is the golden shrine because it is so opulent and costly yet depicts domestic scenes in the life of the king and the queen. Because of its religious significance, the hieroglyphics on the shrine would have had a significant meaning to those who made and used it and some of this power comes across to the viewer. It is a beautiful object with layers of meaning and details of the daily life of those who used it.

Beautiful gold work can also be seen on the ostrich feather fan. The original feathers have not survived, but the stumps of the feathers are still present in the holder. It is made of wood covered with sheet gold. Each side of the fan depicts scenes of hunting and one shows how the fan would have been used.

It was an excellent exhibition, but inevitably very busy and it was difficult to look at the artefacts in detail. It was impossible to sketch anything but there were several books on sale with pictures of the artefacts. The photos here come from the booklet that accompanied the original exhibition in 1972. Comparing the two exhibitions, the older one was more educational and this one was more of a show. This may reflect the different venues and settings or reflect the changes in curating that have occurred during the 35 years that separate the two.

Talk by Lesley Millar

Lesley came to Farnham on 11 December to talk to us about cloth and culture. We discussed with Lesley how our knowledge of textiles begins through touch and that skin is the surface through which we experience textiles. She reminded us that to touch is also to be touched and that this mutuality creates a dialogue. Cloth retains conscious and unconscious memory; it bears the trace of the maker and the wearer.
Used cloth holds layers of memories. The same piece of cloth can have different meanings to different people, for example it can be functional, art, religious, or a statement of identity. Pattern in cloth can provide a non-linear textile narrative. In the Baltic states under communism, textile patterns were used as cultural identity in a subversive way as a means of political dissent. Lesley also told us about her new exhibition Cloth and Culture which brings together 35 artists from Estonia, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania and the UK and opens in the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich in January 2008. She also discussed our individual research with us.