The Solace of Objects [and other exhibitions]

So I have been away from here a while, sorry! Happy New Year and all that. I have been busy going to talks and exhibitions over the seasonal holidays and before and I think a write up is in order. Firstly;

Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects by Felicity Powell @ the Wellcome Collection

Before I saw the exhibition I actually went to an Art Quest talk where she was talking and so found out a bit about the show before even setting foot in the space. The talk was about artists and collections and how and why artists work with institutions and their collections. Powell discussed her previous work with the V&A and the British Museum and then onto the recent work with the Wellcome. Having an interest in amulets Powell wanted to explore a particular collection within the institution. Edward Lovett's collection of Edwardian Londoners amulets intrigued her and so she has been working with this part of the collection. When you enter the exhibition it is clear that Powell has had a big part in the curation of the show as well as the making of her own work inspired by working with the objects. Artist as curator; which works extremely well when anyone engages with museums and their objects. People like to see artists personal choices of objects as well as the work they make from them, giving the artist a level of freedom to choose the objects to be put on display and how they are displayed produces a really cohesive show.

As in this case where Powell has designed this horseshoe shaped display cabinet for the myriad of amulet objects. You can really see the connections between objects and the work she has made. This case also makes you take a journey through the objects and so through types of amulets and perhaps gives you a sense of Edwardian London even. Another part of the show I liked was the way Powell offers the viewer to see her work in progress, her process in making through video, which you can also see on the website here. While I liked the wax drawings that made up the bulk of her work on display I think my favourite piece of hers there was the video (that she explained at the talk) of her writing out the Lords Prayer in a spiral to try to copy the process of a man who's amulet is one of the ones on display. His amulet was a tiny piece of paper on which he wrote out the Lords Prayer in a spiral and carried this around with him; the handwriting is tiny and so Powell had to go over the process many times before getting it exactly right. I loved to hear of this repetitive copying process in the talk but unfortunately it wasn't explained or made evident in the video itself.

This, and the accompanying exhibition, Infinitas Gracias,[which is a exhibition showing a large collection of Mexican miracle votive paintings] is on at the Wellcome Collection until 26th Feb 2012.

More reviews to come.....


Sara Bowen said...

Makes me wish I was a little closer to London! Sounds like you had a great time - very interesting it looks too. I love the horseshoe-shaped cabinet.

Abigail Thomas said...

Yeah it was a good one. Check out the videos on their website though if you liked the idea of the show. I am writing up more exhibitions as we speak, its been a busy month or so! Too much for one post in the end.