Wednesday 1 April 2009

Hussein Chalayan

I saw this exhibition of Hussein Chalayan’s fashions at the Design Museum. Not only are his clothes very attractive and wearable but he concerns himself with interesting ideas such as genetics, displacement and cultural identity so it made a fascinating exhibition. The exhibition also included a number of runway shows which were interesting to see although they should have been broken down into smaller units and shown with the clothes to which they related. His mechanical dresses that morph from one form to another are very clever as is his range of wearable portable architecture.

e-static shadows

The designer Zane Berzina and the architect Jackson Tan have collaborated to produce this installation of electrostatic textiles at the Dana Centre, part of the Science Museum. The project demonstrates how electrostatic energy can be used in conjunction with interactive textiles to form audiovisual patterns. It was a magical experience to enter the darkened room containing the textile and then interact with it using the static energy from your body or using an ebony wand. The audio response to the interactions could be heard as a deep sound through headphones. The scientific work behind the collaboration was described in computer files, which showed how much design work had gone into the installation.

Annette Messager

I saw this Annette Messager retrospective at the Hayward Gallery. I found the pieces in her My trophies were very appealing, they reminded me of illustrations of fables and myths. They were photographs on which she had drawn fantastic images. I also like the Story of dresses which was made up of several dresses encased in glass cases or coffins, like reliquaries. I was also interested in the way she had used gloves and pencils to form witch-like hands that were used to form the shape of a skull. My favourite piece was Casino, a room containing a sea of red silk that was made to billow up and around by a stream of air, to reveal illuminated objects beneath it, as it threatened to engulf the viewer.


Deviants is a Crafts Council exhibition that I had been trying to track down for a while. I eventually got to see it at Worcester Art Gallery. It is a small exhibition and all the objects deviate from what is normally expected from craft objects, so most were not functional. The functional becomes dysfunctional. Some of my personal favourites were Freddie Robbins’ Hand of Good gloves with a miniature glove in the place of each finger of the glove; Richard Slee’s Hello? ceramics; and Henry Pim’s Pot with Ears. The exhibition was accompanied by a handout with comments from The Lonely Piper which I found greatly enhanced my experience.


Desconocida is an exhibition by Lise Bjorne Linnert at The Gallery, UCA Epsom, that responds to the murder and disappearance of many hundreds of women in Juarez a town on the border between the USA and Mexico. The seminar participants were asked to embroider the name of one of the women who has disappeared on a name tape which is then displayed with the other names on a wall in the gallery. Embroidering the names gave a sense of ownership of the problem and made you feel an association with the woman whose name you were embroidering. The exhibition also included rayographs of Lise’s breath as she talks about the problems in Juarez.


This lace festival was held throughout Brugge. The illustration is of the Ghentport at night. Some of my favourite exhibits were Pablo Reinoso’s Chairs and the Miss Blackbirdy fashions in the Gruuthuse Museum. I was interested to see the wire lace fence round the windmill and to find that it is not made in one piece but the pattern is inserted in to the mesh background. I was fascinated with the paper lace by Carlo Mistiaen in the Gezelle museum and would have liked to have spent more time drawing it. I was also interested in the display of Saint’s cards at the Folk Museum many of which included pin pricked patterns similar to bobbin lace patterns. At the Memling Museum I thought that the Serena installation was beautiful and mesmerizing in the way that the patterns kept changing with the different light sources. The Memling’s were also beautiful especially the reliquary depicting Saint Ursula.