Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

I was extremely happy and lucky to get a chance to attend the private view of the V&A’s major exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams before it opened to the public today, 2nd February. It certainly was everything and more. The signature look was evident through the timeline of Dior. A wasp-waist jacket with full skirt, which has stood the test of time together with princess worthy haute couture evening gowns.

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I have remained a Dior fan since my first purchase some 20 years back, so this exhibit was particularly special for me. It all started when I purchased my first Dior handbag at the age of 22, which didn’t leave much change from my modest months salary. I remember feeling slightly embarrassed that I’d spent that much and it was maybe a little irresponsible at the time, but I also felt extremely proud of my purchase and it started a love affair with Dior that has endured. The handbag, designed under then creative director John Galliano has now, become a firm vintage favourite of mine which compliments the newer pieces which I have purchased since.

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The exhibition highlights the early start of Dior in 1947 to the present, and traces the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential design houses, exploring the enduring influence of the fashion house. A must see.

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V&A Exhibition

V&A | You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70

  

You say you want a revolution

Well, you know
We all want to change the world”
The Beatles, Revolution, 1968

 
This major exhibition from the V&A will explore the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s upon life today. From global civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism, computing, communality to neoliberalist politics, the world we live in has been vitally influenced by five revolutionary years 1966 – 70. You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will investigate the upheaval, the explosive sense of freedom, and the legal changes that took place resulting in a fundamental shift in the mindset of the Western world.
You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will explore the way that youth culture catalysed an optimistic idealism, motivating people to come together and question established power structures across every area of society. More than 350 objects encompassing photography, posters, literature, music, design, film, fashion, artefacts, and performance that defined the counterculture will illustrate the way that a whole generation shook off the confines of the past and their parents, radically revolutionising the way they lived their lives.
Highlights on display will show the creative, social and legal outputs of revolutionary new ways of living. They will include underground magazines from Oz to the International Times; a shopping list written behind barricades during the 1968 Paris student riots; a moon rock on loan from NASA alongside the space suit worn by William Anders, who took the defining ‘Earthrise’ photograph on the Apollo 8 mission; a rare Apple 1 computer; an Ossie Clark costume for Mick Jagger; original artworks by Richard Hamilton; shards from Jimi Hendrix’s guitar; the suits worn by John Lennon and George Harrison on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and handwritten lyrics for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles.
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, says, “This ambitious framing of late 1960s counterculture shows the incredible importance of that revolutionary period to our lives today. This seminal exhibition will shed new light on the wide-reaching social, cultural and intellectual changes of the late 1960s which followed the austerity of the post-war years, not just in the UK but throughout the Western world. Our collections at the V&A, unrivalled in their scope and diversity, make us uniquely placed to present this exhibition.”
Objects are drawn from the breadth of the V&A’s varied collections, alongside important loans to highlight connections between people, places, music and movements across the UK, Europe and the USA. The exhibition will focus on particular environments that defined the cultural and social vanguard of the period, including Carnaby Street in London, clubs and counterculture, the Paris protests of May 1968, World Fairs including Montreal and Osaka, the Woodstock Festival of 1969 and alternative communities on the West Coast of America. Ideological connections will be made to the world of 2016, from the election battle to appoint the new president of the most powerful nation on earth to the rights of individuals everywhere to make a difference.
The collection of the cult radio presenter and musical tastemaker John Peel will provide a musical odyssey through some of the greatest music and performance of the 20th century from Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come to The Who’s My Generation to Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock. Music will be played through Sennheiser headsets using innovative audio guide technology which adapts the sound to the visitor’s position in the gallery. Sound will be integrated with video and moving image, including interviews with key figures from the period including Yoko Ono, Stewart Brand and Twiggy, psychedelic light shows and seminal films including Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey to create a fully immersive and dramatic audiovisual experience.
vam.ac.uk/revolution; 

V&A | Disobedient Objects

V&A

 

26 July 2014 – 1 February 2015. 

The V&A will this summer present the first exhibition to explore objects of art and design from around the world that have been created by grassroots social movements as tools of social change. From Chilean folk art textiles that document political violence to a graffiti-writing robot, defaced currency to giant inflatable cobblestones thrown

At demonstrations in Barcelona, to a political video game about the making of mobile phones, Disobedient Objects will demonstrate how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity. The exhibition will showcase forms of making that defy standard definitions of art and design. The objects that will be on display are mostly produced by non-professional makers, collectively and with limited resources as effective responses to complex situations.

The exhibition will focus on the late 1970s to the present; a time that has brought new technologies, social and political challenges. The objects are made in a number of ways including: the appropriation of everyday objects for a new subversive purpose, as seen with the Bike Bloc which was produced from discarded bicycles and audio equipment welded together during the 2009 Reclaim Power protests in Copenhagen; the employment of traditional crafts like hand-appliquéd protest banners; and hacking cutting-edge technology to create such protest tools as a counter-surveillance drone.

Many of the exhibits will be loaned directly from activist groups from all over the world, bringing together for the first time many objects rarely before seen in a museum. Context will be provided by newspaper cuttings, how-to guides and film content, including interviews and footage of the objects in action. Each design will be accompanied by the maker’s statement to explain how and why the object was created.

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “This exhibition celebrates the creative ‘disobedience’ of designers and makers who question the rules. It shows that even with the most limited of resources, ordinary people can take design into their own hands. This is a brave and unusual exhibition; these are brave and unusual designers. We are proud to present their work.”

The first part of the exhibition introduces the design of activist objects in relation to four ways of effecting social change: direct action, speaking out, making worlds and solidarity. A specially-commissioned film will explore the history of ‘lock-ons’ – simple yet ingenious blockading devices designed to attach activists to the site of protest. Large shields employed on the front line during the 2010-11 protests against education cuts, were decorated to look like book covers, thereby changing the dynamic of the police’s confrontation with protestors. This design idea spread to similar protests around the world as it was such a powerful statement.

The way that protestors convey their message to avoid censorship and navigate the power of the media will be considered. Giant puppets have long been a tool of social movements, and a tableau of three puppets used in protests against the first Gulf War by the politically radical US-based Bread and Puppet Theater will be included. Recently, simple pamphlets, placards and banners have been re-worked for the modern world and used in conjunction with social media. A selection will be shown, including a hand-painted placard made by gay rights activists in Russia and used in the antigovernment demonstrations in Moscow in 2012. A series of defaced currency will also be displayed including ‘Occupy George,’ dollar bills circulated with fact-based infographics about the economic disparity of the US.

The maps and architectural experiments of protest camps illuminate the physical infrastructures that enable protest movements. The inflatable general assembly structure devised by 123Occupy offers protestors a place to gather, keep dry and discuss strategies and ideas. Meanwhile, a makeshift tear gas mask from the 2013 Istanbul protests, demonstrates a creative solution to support an individual protestor.

Creating a personal connection to a collective cause or identifying with an injustice can be an essential part of building a movement. This solidarity can be demonstrated by even the smallest objects. On show will be badges and t-shirts bearing the inverted pink triangle used by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), as well as a display mapping how anti- Apartheid badge designs spread in the 1980s from South Africa to solidarity groups around the world. There will also be pieces of jewellery designed by members of the Black Panther party while in prison and sent to supporters.

The final part of the exhibition profiles a series of case studies in protest design from the last 30 years. This section opens with a data-visualisation mapping every protest since 1979. The case studies include masks of the Guerrilla Girls who speak out against sexism in the art world, and the Tiki Love Truck, an anti-death penalty statement which takes the form of a mosaic-covered pick up vehicle by artist Carrie Reichardt. A web-based comedy series by Masasit Mati using finger puppets to lampoon the Assad regime in Syria will be displayed as well as a project by the Barbie Liberation Organisation which involved switching the voiceboxes on talking GI Joe and Barbie dolls to highlight gender stereotypes in children’s toys. The whole space will be hung with banners drawn from a diverse range of protest sites including the 1980s Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the UK to recent anti- nuclear protests in Japan.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/disobedientobjects | #disobedientobjects

V&A | Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright

Shakespeare

 

8 February – 21 September 2014

In celebration of the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth on 23 April 2014, this display will explore Shakespeare’s works as inspiration for a multitude of theatrical interpretations through the centuries and across the globe.

Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright will take Shakespeare’s First Folio as its centrepiece. This collected edition of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays (excluding Pericles) was published in 1623 and contains the first known versions of many of the plays. Without it, eighteen of the works would be unknown today, including Macbeth, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night. Surrounding the Folio will be new interviews, archive footage and photography, and twenty-five objects from the V&A collections, to explore how the plays have been interpreted and re-imagined by successive generations.

At the heart of the display will be a specially commissioned audiovisual installation by Fifty Nine Productions featuring interviews with contemporary theatre practitioners. Leading actors, directors and designers will consider their relationships with Shakespeare’s plays, including Simon Russell Beale, Lucy Osborne, Edward Hall, Julie Taymor, Cush Jumbo, Sinéad Cusack and the Belarus Free Theatre. Illustrating the interviews will be recorded excerpts of Shakespearean performances from the V&A’s National Video Archive of Performance, and images from the Museum’s collections. This material will be projected onto a constellation of screens to represent the seeming infinity of interpretations of Shakespeare’s works.

Objects on display, including props, costumes, set models, design sketches and printed ephemera, will illustrate past productions of Shakespeare’s works. Amongst these are a skull used by Sarah Bernhardt during her role as Hamlet in 1899, and the embroidered handkerchief used by actress Ellen Terry whilst playing Desdemona in 1881 at the Lyceum Theatre. Costumes include a headdress by the prominent society designer Oliver Messel, worn by the actress Vivien Leigh during performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1937, and a pair of red boots worn by actor-manager Henry Irving in an 1877 production of Richard III. With a stacked right heel, the boots helped Irving to perform with the character’s distinctive limp.

Designs on paper for both set and costume will be shown, such as a 1945 costume design by Roger Furse for the character of Falstaff, which depicts a realistic ‘fat-suit’ to be worn by Sir Ralph Richardson. Interpretations of theatrical sets will be explored through a 1772 set design for Richard III by the innovative designer Philip James de Loutherbourg, which suggests a free-standing bridge, and Sally Jacobs’ 1970 set model for director Peter Brook’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which shows the stage transformed into a circus space. Examples of theatrical ephemera will also be displayed including a ticket to a 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee.

Further insight into Shakespeare’s life and legacy is provided through a mural designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, which includes statistics about the playwright’s works, their global reception, and famous phrases which have their origin in the plays.

Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright will be accompanied by a varied programme of activities and events at the V&A celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and examining the enduring influence and popularity of the world’s most famous poet and playwright.

  • Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright will be shown in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Galleries from 8 February to 21 September 2014
  • The V&A is open daily from 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday
  • Admission is FREE
  • The display curator is Victoria Broackes, a curator in the Department of Theatre andPerformance, Head of Performance Exhibitions and Head of the London Design

    Festival at the V&A

  • 3D design by Laura Hopkins, sound design by Gareth Fry, and music composed byPaul Clark
  • Creative direction and AV design by 59 Productions

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 | V&A

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Missoni knitted ensemble, 1972
Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A’s spring exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, will be the first major show to examine Italy’s rich and influential contribution to fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present. It will draw out the defining factors unique to the Italian fashion industry – the use of luxurious materials; expert textile production; specialist, regional manufacturing; and its strength as a source of both dynamic menswear and glamorous womenswear.

The exhibition draws upon original research undertaken within Italian archives. The story of Italian fashion will be explored through the pivotal individuals and organisations that have contributed to its reputation for quality and style, within the prevailing social and political context. On display will be around 100 ensembles and accessories by leading Italian fashion houses including Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci, Valentino and Versace, through to the next generation of talent including couture by Giambattista Valli, bold ready-to-wear from Fausto Puglisi and work from Valentino’s new designer duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. It will also highlight the creativity of influential but less remembered figures such as the post-war couturiers Sorelle Fontana (Fontana sisters) and Mila Schön, as well as design innovators such as Walter Albini.

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Elizabeth Taylor wears Bulgari jewellery at the masked ball, Hotel Ca’Rezzonico, 1967

The exhibition will chart the shifting international perception of Italian style from the landmark ‘Sala Bianca’ catwalk shows held in Florence from the early 1950s, which propelled Italian fashion onto the world stage. Organised by Giovanni Battista Giorgini, these events presented the country’s finest designs, which offered a viable alternative to Paris. It will also examine the impact of the many Hollywood films that were shot on location in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s. During this period, stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor became style ambassadors for Italian fashion, fuelling a keen international appetite for luxurious clothing made in Italy.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion will highlight the exceptional quality of techniques, materials and expertise for which Italy has become renowned. Its status as manufacturer and exporter of some of the world’s most stylish and well-made fashion and textiles is linked to the strength of its traditional industriesincludingspinning,dyeing,weaving,cuttingandstitching;someofthesetraditions have been practised in regions around Italy for hundreds of years. A digital map will visualise the networks of mills, workshops and the clusters of related industries seen across the Italian landscape.

The exhibition will consider how Italy’s fashion designers, manufacturers, press and related industries are navigating the current shift towards overseas production, fast-fashion, internet retail and digital communication. It will conclude with a series of filmed interviews with key protagonists across the design, manufacturing and media sectors discussing the challenges and trends that will impact on and shape the future of Italian fashion.

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “I am thrilled to be celebrating Italy’s immense contribution to the international fashion world in this first major exhibition on the subject. The V&A has a long tradition of working with Italian designers and this comprehensive exhibition will chronicle the development of the legendary Italian style, not only focusing on the familiar but, importantly casting light on the less well known designers and stories as well as considering the significant contribution made to the economy by its fashion and textile industries.”

The objects will be drawn from the V&A’s leading Italian fashion collections and from international lenders. These include private foundations, fashion houses and archives such as the Fondazione Emilio Pucci, Foto Locchi, Missoni Archive and Museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and Galleria del Costume (Florence).

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Evening dress of silk, Roberto Capucci 1987-1988
Courtesy Roberto Capucci Foundation, Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Sponsored by Bulgari
5 April – 27 July 2014 The Victoria & Albert

V&A | The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion

The Clothworkers’ centre for Textiles and Fashion Study, opens to the public on Tuesday Oct 8 at Blythe House, Kensington

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The V&A is creating a new centre for the study, enjoyment and care of its outstanding textiles and fashion collections. Housing over 104,000 objects ranging from small archaeological textile fragments from Egypt to enormous tapestries created for medieval European palaces; and from the latest creations by leading contemporary designers to hoop petticoats from the 1740s, the Clothworkers’ Centre will offer the best possible access to the V&A collections for the many researchers, students and enthusiasts who use them every year.

The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion is being developed at Blythe House in Kensington Olympia, home to the V&A’s study collections and the Archive of Art and Design. It will open on 8 October 2013 and is being made possible thanks to a generous lead grant from The Clothworkers’ Foundation and further support from many others.

Haworth Tompkins Architects have sensitively designed the Centre within the Grade II listed Edwardian building, maintaining and enhancing the industrial feel of the internal architecture by reinstating original features, while inserting contemporary interventions to form new spaces. The original grand entrance of Blythe House will be reopened to create a more welcoming street presence. A donation from Mr. Jorge Yarur Bascuñán has enabled the V&A to create a new reception area, which will feature floor to ceiling glass cabinets to house changing displays from the study collections. The first display will be Eduardo Paolozzi’s Krazy Kat Arkive of Twentieth Century Popular Culture.

A spacious new public study room will offer a relaxed and peaceful environment for visitors to view even the largest textiles first hand, with staff and reference books available for consultation. The adjoining seminar room, supported by The Patricia Baines Trust, will be used for groups and classes accommodating up to 18 people. Coats plc. has enabled one of the antique wooden display cabinets from the former Textiles Gallery to be restored for display in the study room. The cabinet will contain 160 framed historical textiles to show the quality, geographic range and diversity of the collection and to demonstrate a variety of textile techniques and design.

Modern, custom-built storage will ensure the long-term preservation of the collection. It includes storage for 1,280 large rolled textiles from 1.5 to six metres long; 500 linear metres of storage for hanging garments; and 7,000 drawers in six different sizes to house everything from dress fabrics to religious robes, handbags to walking sticks, and embroidery to underwear. A gift from The Basil Samuel Charitable Trust has purchased specialist access equipment to enable staff to work safely at height.

The V&A’s Textile Conservation Department is one of the leaders in its field anywhere in the world. The new Centre provides upgraded conservation studios in which they can carry out their specialist conservation of the collection. Visitors will be able to see into the studios and watch work in progress.

Martin Roth, V&A Director, said: “This development at Blythe House reflects our commitment to making the V&A’s collections available to the widest possible audience to inspire designers and help researchers. We want visitors to the new Clothworkers’ Centre to have the same experience studying fashion and textiles as they do when viewing fine art in our public study room or visiting our library.”

The new Clothworkers’ Centre forms part of the V&A’s ambitious FuturePlan and will release spaces previously used as storage at South Kensington for public galleries. Textiles and fashion will continue to be displayed in temporary exhibitions and in permanent galleries at the V&A, notably in the Fashion Gallery, which presents around 100 outfits arranged chronologically to reflect the quality and breadth of the V&A’s collections. Some of the Museum’s finest tapestries, embroideries and furnishing silks can be seen in the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries and important carpets, chintz, lace and rare fashion items in the British Galleries. The Tapestry Gallery shows the magnificent Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, the only great hunting tapestries to have survived from the 15th century and many superb textiles from China, Japan, Korea, South Asia and the Islamic world are on display in the Asian galleries.

In addition, catalogue entries for the textile and fashion collection are available online through ‘Search the Collections’: http://collections.vam.ac.uk, and a newly commissioned film about the Centre will be available on the V&A Channel.

Individual and group appointments to study and research the collections held in the Clothworkers’ Centre must be booked in advance to enable the Museum to ensure that requested objects and the appropriate space to study them are available. Public tours of the Clothworkers’ Centre will take place on the last Friday of every month.

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Photos: Courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The Design Fund | V&A Announces New Contemporary Acquisitions

V&A

The Design Fund to Benefit the V&A has this year enabled the Museum to acquire five contemporary design projects ranging from a series of vessels made of natural polymers to a 3D printed gun. They will all go on display at the V&A for the first time during London Design Festival (14-22 September).

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said: “The generosity of supporters of the Design Fund ensures that the V&A is able to acquire for our permanent collections some of the best and most exciting design projects of our time. This year’s acquisitions reflect an interesting combination of new technologies working with traditional crafts.”

Yana Peel, Founder of the Design Fund to Benefit the V&A, said: “We are thrilled that in its third year, the Design Fund to Benefit the V&A has continued to enable the acquisition of such meaningful works for the Museum. With 17 exceptional contemporary design projects now acquired through the collective generosity of the Fund’s donors, a legacy is being built to represent the leading trends in design and society of today.”

The Design Fund was set up in March 2011 by arts patron Yana Peel, to bring together design enthusiasts with a shared passion for contemporary design and an interest in supporting the V&A’s aim to enrich people’s lives by promoting knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world. Over the last two years supporters of the Fund have enabled the V&A to buy a number of pieces by such international designers as Fredrikson Stallard, Joris Laarman and nendo. Some of the pieces are now on permanent display in the V&A’s new Dr. Susan Weber Gallery for Furniture, while others will go into future exhibitions.

These new acquisitions significantly enhance the V&A’s holding of contemporary design, a collection which reflects what is new, influential, innovative or experimental, and what is representative of current trends in design and society. The collection spans all aspects of design and art including fashion, furniture, craft objects, product and graphic design, digital media, architecture, photography, prints and drawings.

David Bowie is | Grand finale to exhibition on Tuesday!

david bowie

19.00 Tuesday 13 August 2013

This unique event will be shown in over 200 cinemas across the UK for your last chance to experience the exhibition before it goes on international tour. The film will be introduced by exhibition curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, and will feature special guests offering an insight into the stories behind some of the 300 objects from the David Bowie Archive, many of which have never before been displayed in public.

Contributors will include avant garde Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, who designed the flamboyant, androgynous Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane costumes worn by Bowie on tour in 1973; Terry O’Neill – renowned photographer of celebrities of the ‘60s and ‘70s, who worked with Bowie on several occasions and who is perhaps best known for his striking photographs of Bowie for the Diamond Dogs tour; choreographer Michael Clark, a lifelong fan of Bowie, whose piece ‘come, been and gone’ was inspired by Bowie’s music and is featured in the exhibition; and contemporary artist Jeremy Deller whose piece ‘English Magic’ at the British Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, is in large part inspired by David Bowie and his impact on the English psyche.

David Bowie is happening now will be directed by BAFTA winning director, Hamish Hamilton who directed the live TV coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and produced by Done & Dusted Productions Ltd. The event will be brought to cinemas across the country by Picturehouse Entertainment Ltd.

The event will be screened at all participating cinemas on Tuesday 13 August 2013, doors open 18.45 screening at 19.00.

http://www.vam.ac.uk

V&A | The Clothworkers’ Centre |8th Oct

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The V&A is creating a new centre for the study, enjoyment and care of its outstanding textiles and fashion collections. Housing over 104,000 objects ranging from small archaeological textile fragments from Egypt to enormous tapestries created for medieval European palaces; and from the latest creations by leading contemporary designers to hoop petticoats from the 1740s, the Clothworkers’ Centre will offer the best possible access to the V&A collections for the many researchers, students and enthusiasts who use them every year.

The Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles and Fashion Study and Conservation is being developed at Blythe House in Kensington Olympia, home to the V&A’s study collections and the Archive of Art and Design. It will open on 8 October 2013 and is being made possible thanks to a generous lead grant from The Clothworkers’ Foundation and further support from many others.

Haworth Tompkins Architects have sensitively designed the Centre within the Grade II listed Edwardian building, maintaining and enhancing the industrial feel of the internal architecture by reinstating original features, while inserting contemporary interventions to form new spaces. The original grand entrance of Blythe House will be reopened to create a more welcoming street presence. A donation from Mr. Jorge Yarur Bascuñán has enabled the V&A to create a new reception area, which will feature floor to ceiling glass cabinets to house changing displays from the study collections. The first display will be Eduardo Paolozzi’s Krazy Kat Arkive of Twentieth Century Popular Culture.

A spacious new public study room will offer a relaxed and peaceful environment for visitors to view even the largest textiles first hand, with staff and reference books available for consultation. The adjoining seminar room, supported by The Patricia Baines Trust, will be used for groups and classes accommodating up to 18 people. Coats plc. has enabled one of the antique wooden display cabinets from the former Textiles Gallery to be restored for display in the study room. The cabinet will contain 160 framed historical textiles to show the quality, geographic range and

diversity of the collection and to demonstrate a variety of textile techniques and design.

Modern, custom-built storage will ensure the long-term preservation of the collection. It includes storage for 1,280 large rolled textiles from 1.5 to six metres long; 500 linear metres of storage for hanging garments; and 7,000 drawers in six different sizes to house everything from dress fabrics to religious robes, handbags to walking sticks, and embroidery to underwear. A gift from The Basil Samuel Charitable Trust has purchased specialist access equipment to enable staff to work safely at height.

The V&A’s Textile Conservation Department is one of the leaders in its field anywhere in the world. The new Centre provides upgraded conservation studios in which they can carry out their specialist conservation of the collection. Visitors will be able to see into the studios and watch work in progress.

Martin Roth, V&A Director, said: “This development at Blythe House reflects our commitment to making the V&A’s collections available to the widest possible audience to inspire designers and help researchers. We want visitors to the new Clothworkers’ Centre to have the same experience studying fashion and textiles as they do when viewing fine art in our public study room or visiting our library.”

The new Clothworkers’ Centre forms part of the V&A’s ambitious FuturePlan and will release spaces previously used as storage at South Kensington for public galleries. Textiles and fashion will continue to be displayed in temporary exhibitions and in permanent galleries at the V&A, notably in the Fashion Gallery, which presents around 100 outfits arranged chronologically to reflect the quality and breadth of the V&A’s collections. Some of the Museum’s finest tapestries, embroideries and furnishing silks can be seen in the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries and important carpets, chintz, lace and rare fashion items in the British Galleries. The Tapestry Gallery shows the magnificent Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, the only great hunting tapestries to have survived from the 15th century and many superb textiles from China, Japan, Korea, South Asia and the Islamic world are on display in the Asian galleries.

In addition, catalogue entries for the textile and fashion collection are available online through ‘Search the Collections’: http://collections.vam.ac.uk, and a newly commissioned film about the Centre will be available on the V&A Channel.

Individual and group appointments to study and research the collections held in the Clothworkers’ Centre must be booked in advance to enable the Museum to ensure that requested objects and the appropriate space to study them are available. Public tours of the Clothworkers’ Centre will take place on the last Friday of every month.

  • Entrance to The Clothworkers Centre and Blythe House is FREE and by appointment.
  • Group bookings can be made now and individual bookings from 1 September. To book email textilesandfashion@vam.ac.uk
  • To book a place on one of the monthly public tours email textilesandfashion@vam.ac.uk

     

Tomorrow – Elmgreen & Dragset at the V&A

bergman
Table for Bergman, 2009
Elmgreen & Dragset
Courtesy of Galleria Massimo De Carlo, the artists
Photo by Anders Sune Berg
(artwork in background by Sturtevant)

The V&A has commissioned a major site-specific installation over five galleries by leading contemporary artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Opening in October 2013, Tomorrow will transform the V&A’s former textile galleries into an apartment belonging to a fictional, elderly and disillusioned architect.

The installation will feature over 100 objects from the V&A’s collections, which will sit alongside works by the artists, as well as items sourced from antique markets. The juxtaposition of objects, which will be arranged as a grand domestic interior, will create ambiguity and raise questions about cultural heritage. Martin Roth, V&A Director, said: “We are excited to be working with two of the world’s leading contemporary artists on this ambitious project. The result will be unsettling and provoking and above all will present the V&A’s collections in a radically new and memorable way for our visitors.”

Elmgreen & Dragset’s exhibition Tomorrow will appear like a set for an unrealised film. To accompany it, the artists have written a script, which will be available to visitors as a printed book. The drama centres on a retired architect who had great vision but very little success in his professional life. In his twilight years, and with the family fortune long gone, he is forced to sell his inherited home and all his possessions. The script comments on issues of ageing, disappointment and alienation in today’s society.

Within the domestic setting, visitors will act as uninvited guests, able to curl up in the architect’s bed, recline on his sofa, or rifle through books placed by the artists to hint at the imagined events that could have taken place here.

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset said: “On one of our early visits to the V&A to discuss the show, we encountered the former textile galleries which were being used for storage and closed to the public. When we found these spaces we knew right away what we wanted to do. Making this exhibition is like creating a detailed set for a film, but with access to the incredible collections of the V&A to choose from. While selecting objects to furnish the apartment we began to envision pieces of dialogue between characters that we could imagine might inhabit the space. So we wrote a script. It was sort of a reversed process where the props in our film set

initiated the narrative. Now it’s our hope that visitors will interact freely with this set and discover their own clues as to who our fictional and quite eccentric inhabitant might be.”

Tomorrow will examine interests that have abided throughout the artists’ careers – those of redefining the way in which art is presented and experienced, issues around social models and how spaces and objects both inflict on and reflect our behavioural patterns. Such ideas are visible in many of the artist duo’s previous exhibitions, including The Welfare Show at Serpentine Gallery in 2006, The Collectors at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and The One and The Many at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 2011.

Elmgreen & Dragset have worked closely with V&A curator Louise Shannon to research and select objects from the V&

Exhibition is held in partnership with AlixPartners

Runs from: 1 October 2013 – 2 January 2014