The Museum of Discovery

The highlight of Exhibition #3 at the Museum of Everything is Ted Willcox’s tapestries. This ex-serviceman learnt how to sew in hospital while recovering from injuries. He created embroideries of pin-up girls and his unique version of Alice in Wonderland. I highly recommend checking Exhibition #3 out. Other highlights were Walter Potter’s dioramas (love this) and Arthur Windley’s miniature funfair (which he turned on every morning in his garage).

I urge everyone to have an afternoon of discovery. The exhibition is on until Dec 24th.

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Hairy Fairytales

One lazy weekend afternoon in March, we headed into Soho to view Alice Anderson‘s exhibition, Time Reversal. Walking on Beak Street, you will be struck by the odd sight of seeing hair falling over the front of this building in Soho like a heavy curtain. Like a supersized, modern version Rapunzel-esque tale, this installation draws you in.

Inside 1000s of metres of dolls’ hair shoot out from the fireplace and fill the room. The auburn hair catches the sunlight beautifully and you will end up standing and staring at this web of hair and admiring how beautiful and golden it looks in the sun.

It makes for a slightly eerie, and most definitely captivating sight. Like a freak show, you are invited to see the rest of the exhibition for a pound. Upstairs there are various sculptures featuring a doll theme and creep downstairs you can watch the 9 minute film which is part of the exhibition, The Day I Became A Doll.

For me, the exhibition’s biggest draw was the hair installation. The film  with its references to gothic horror (which I love) and a study on the mother-daughter relationship, was a bit contrived. This exhibition runs until 24th April so catch it in the Riflemaker Gallery before it ends. Believe me, it makes a nice escape from the madness of the city centre being in a room of hair.

Speaking of escaping, I went to Kensington Palace for the Enchanted Palace exhibition. Drawn by its poster and by the designers involved including Vivienne Westwood, Boudicca and Stephen Jones, I took a bite. A poisoned apple it wasn’t, but it was slightly disappointing. Mainly because with magical fairytales, it is easy for the imagination to take over and reality, even with the help of digital projections and theater sets, will never match that of the mind!

Having said that, there were quite a few things I loved in the exhibition. The tear jars on display were magnificent and I left lusting after  jewel-encrusted apple headband and the paper dress by Echo Morgan in the Room of the World

Photos below are via Style Bubble as photography was not allowed in the exhibition.

It still made for a fun afternoon which ended with a berry meringue served with thick cream and fresh berries in The Orangery.

London. I love how it’s so easy to disappear into a modern day fairytale here.

Digital Design Sensations

The V&A is having an exhibition on digital design. This mostly interactive exhibition explores how digital technologies have added new depths to the works of artists and designers. At an exhibition like this, the lines are blurred between the artist, creator and participant. This exhibition was fantastic for engaging its audience by participation and interaction. The tree above is part of the exhibition and is by experimental videomaker and media artist Simon Heijdens. Here he explores the relationship between nature and technology. The movements in the tree are directly linked to how windy it is outside the museum.

On a less subtle note, we saw children going wild, recording themselves being silly on a video camera for Ross Phillips‘ Videogrid. The result was a collage of mini videos of people who collectively let go of their inhibitions and acted silly for the camera for art’s sake.

The interactive section was the strongest in the exhibition. In this section, we got to move sand around to create new worlds of existence in Oasis by Everyware.

But it was with Body Paint that we let loose and brought out the Jackson Pollock in us through crazy dance moves. The result was vibrant colours that reminded me of being in the Architects of Air tents.

It felt appropriate that I was running around this exhibition on digital design with one of my favourite applications -the QuadCamera. Like an action camera, it allows you to take photographs in quick succession.

Time Out is having a 2-4-1 special for this exhibition. The voucher is available here. The exhibition is on until 11 April 2010 and I highly recommend it.

In The Realms of Henry Darger

At The Museum of Everything on Saturday, I fell in love with the paintings of Henry Darger. I have never heard of this outsider artist before. The recluse from Chicago, the janitor who lived alone and died leaving hundreds of watercolour paintings illustrating an epic known as “The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.”

His art is evocative of illustrations in children’s books and are often set in panoramic scale. The paintings remind me of the colouring books I loved as a child with the darkness of adulthood. This is no happily-ever-after land. The seven girls who are known as The Vivian Girls fight evil and protect each other from the sinister world of adults. And these girls are usually depicted as hermaphrodites.

What I love most about Henry Darger’s painting is the sincerity of his works. And of course it is sincere. It was never meant to be perceived as art. He was a lonely janitor with a tragic story to tell. A good literary accompaniment to his paintings is Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex.

100 Colors, 100 Writings, 100 Days

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I saw this on Design Observer’s twitter and thought Rachel Berger‘s project was so good, I had to blog about it.  I sat after dinner in the kitchen reading Rachel‘s favourite forty paint chips.

The project is simple. For 100 days, she picked a paint chip noted the name of the colour and the number of the day (of 100) and responded to it by writing. Everyone knows that there is memory in scent, but a shade or tone of colour can also remind you of things. And it most certainly can influence moods and emotions.

Rachel‘s writing is thoughtful. The kind of writing I love. There is a lot of personal experiences, quirky observation and some random facts. Everything that makes for great reading is here.

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08 Candied Yams I bought my first yam this week. I wanted sweet potatoes, which sound a bit friendlier, but the store didn’t have any. The yam is quite rooty, forever looking freshly pulled from the earth — something that is born, grows, and dies in darkness. It’s bumping around my cupboard now, rolling into view when I take out the sugar canister, tin of anchovies. It’s clumsy and bulky. I rudely shove it back, out of my way, further into the darkness.

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48 Moss Landing Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion opens with a description of the frightening, dripping, verdancy of Oregon. It continues for many pages, and it’s all true. In Portland, moss grows on the roofs of the houses, ferns sprout from cracks in the sidewalk, even the best maintained streets and buildings are prone to sliding around during the dark wet winter. One time in college, I came home for a holiday, and there were huge gray mushrooms growing out of my bedroom carpet.

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52 Glacial TintI’m stranded at my father’s house, what Joanna calls “the Greenway Inn,” on Greenway Avenue, way up in the West Hills. It snowed all night and is snowing now. Seven, ten, thirteen inches. Never in my life has it snowed this much in Portland. When I describe the white carnage to people in Connecticut and New York, they are not nearly impressed enough. They think Portland is like I think Denver is, snowy, cold, mountainous. I was shocked when I finally visited Denver and it was flat and sunny.

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57 Cool MelonOnly three times in its hundred-year history has the Crayola company changed the name of a crayon. Prussian Blue became Midnight Blue in 1958 and Indian Red was renamed Chestnut in 1999, both in response to requests from educators. In 1962, the company voluntarily changed Flesh to Peach, partially in response to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

I urge you to read the full set of Rachel‘s musings here.

Two by Two

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Keetra Dean Dixon creates magical art in the vein of Miranda July. Just Between You and Me features various objects that require co-dependency. I especially love the objects above. The glasses you wear to see eye to eye would definitely help reach compromises. The shadowing shoes = hugwalks and the balloons that take two to blow up.  Now that it’s getting colder, I am feeling rather romantic and daydream of walks on fallen leaves, wrapped in layers with the boy.

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On the topic of sharing and togetherness, I recently spotted the Loving Cup by Maria Lintott Ceramics. The double handled cup  makes it easy to pass hot drinks, which will make it perfect for when it gets colder. While you’re on the website, check out the moustache-protector cups too!

Weekend Away: Paris

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I have always dreamed of being in a band. And when I was in Paris at the weekend, we spotted this on the ground, outside my favourite shop in Montmatre.

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I’ve been to Paris a few times now, but have never seen any of the cemetries there. We went to Cimitiere Montparnasse because I wanted to see Jean Seberg‘s tombstone. It was very sunny that day. And she was nowhere in sight.

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I found Serge Gainsbourg‘s instead.  His was filled  with cigarettes, metro tickets other curiousities like this Bob charm.

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It was a funny coincidence as only two days ago, my friend Siobhan was telling us how she liked the name Bob. We decided that the Bob in Twin Peaks was one Bob we didn’t like.

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The best thing about being away is having the time to walk about. I remember when I lived in Edinburgh thinking that it was lacking a river. Having a river = having bridges. Bridges make a city very pretty.

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Walking around a city is the best way to discover hidden gems. Nothing is better than stumbling upon a spot of beauty.

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Or spotting the prettiest petits fours. When travelling, breakfast can be long and leisurely. Not unlike a weekend brunch. We had a breakfast of freshly baked breads. We were served a selection of yummy jams and nutella. Mmm..

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I like revisiting cities that I love. You end up with a list of favourite places. Almost like you lived in that city.  In Paris, a favourite gallery is the Fondation Cartier.

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The exhibition we saw was Grafitti- Born on the Streets. On the way out, we spotted a bunch of grafitti artists tagging a wall propped up in front of the building. It was a nice touch by the curators.