Material : Textile at Messums

posted in: Exhibitions | 0
Shoplifter At Sea 2012

I hadn’t realised that it was possible to see a show in fifteen minutes flat – the downside of taking a lively two year old with you. This week I managed to steal an afternoon and drive to Messums Tisbury to catch this show of textiles with Amélie. She was fairly unimpressed with most of it, and kept asking where the bird was (eventually found it was the Brancusi-type sculptures outside). Inside were grand names, plus not obvious ones. A variety of techniques; Tapestry – Henry Moore, Kurt Jackson (Dovecot Studios), Embroidery – Des Hughes, Rugs – Anni Albers, Louise Bourgeois and Rosemarie Trockel, Knitting – Freddie Robbins, plus a number of ethnographic items such as Inca tunic panels, and feather headdresses. There was a massive installation by Henrik Vibskov made up of plastic chimney sweep brushes constructed into an arch which took up almost the length of the Tithe Barn – interesting to walk through with a little person, but it struck me how environmentally unsound it was, particularly at this moment in history when people understand that plastic takes centuries to break down, or not at all. This is a dilemma for artists for which we all have to hope will be a consideration when proposing future work, it was certainly a criteria which Masters students on the Textiles course at Bath Spa University were strongly encouraged to evidence when sourcing fabric. Maybe Vibskov reclaimed the material from landfill, I didn’t get an opportunity to get more information from the catalogue because my young companion was getting restless. However, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Phyllida Barlow show at the Royal Academy, London soon – she is a great one for seeing a nice bit of wood or stuff, appropriating it to make imposing structures.