THE Power of Making exhibition consists of obscure and eclectic, yet beautifully crafted objects that have been created to celebrate the notion of craft and creativity within our lives. The exhibit is ‘about breadth and depth of craft’s presence in modern life’, which offers views a chance to observe the many different skills and techniques within craft.
The viewer is greeted by the giant ‘King Silver’, an over-scaled gorilla sculpture created by David Mach. The impressive gorilla, made from hand-twisted wire coat hangers is the first sculpture at the V&A’s most recent exhibition. Watching over you as you enter, the terrifying sculpture is a fantastic way of immediately grabbing the visitor’s attention, which is retained throughout the exhibit.
© V&A images
Placed in one moderately sized room, the Victoria and Albert and Crafts Council exhibition is home to 'A Prosthetic Suit For Stephan Hawking With Japanese Steel’ by Michael T Rea. Once again created on a large scale, Rea’s adept ‘bionic hero’, presents a humorous take on an alternative reality. There is a huge sense of command from the gigantic ‘suit’ and to incorporate this with the powerful mind of Stephan Hawking in an alternative reality; creates the idea of power on a huge scale.
However, the exhibition highlights not only these contemporary ideas and techniques but also emphasises the traditions of ancient skills. For example, the ‘Ghanaian Lion Coffin’ by Joseph Tetteh Ashong, a beautifully carved coffin, has become somewhat of an ironic piece. Painted using an airbrushing technique, the wood carved coffin will ultimately be buried. The coffin reflects an individual’s jobs and aspirations, which in this case the lion represents the achievements of a hunter. Ashong is currently merging with pop culture and creating pieces for a more western audience, which means his coffins could be sculptured into more contemporary pieces. Ultimately, you could be buried in a Mercedes Benz.
Throughout the room are slogans and headings, one being ‘In the Zone’, inviting the visitor to understand that even without the advanced skills they can immerse themselves into the zone and create and make crafts. At the back of the exhibition is a large screen with seats, allowing the viewer to watch some of the artists in their ‘zone’, creating their own crafts. The almost cluttered room is organised into groups of art that share similarities. These being in either the techniques used and materials, whilst others are associated by form.
Moving around the room clockwise, the late Alexander McQueen’s 'Armadillo Shoes’ are a centrepiece. Inspired by the point of a ballet dancer’s foot, the shoes are outrageous and almost confusing. Created in 2009, the shoes provide the viewer with the idea of pushing the boundaries of thinking and making, offering experimental forms of clothing.
All of the works are carefully and beautifully thought out. Whether they be realistic or unrealistic, contemporary creations or inspired by traditional skill and knowledge. Power of Making is not pretentious but inspiring. The exhibition makes sure lets the viewer know that ‘making is something everyone can do’, whilst supplying us with impressive craftsmanship, definitely well worth the visit.
Open from the 6th of September to 2nd of January 2012.
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