Friday, February 6, 2009

Kantlijnen - The Face of Lace

Kantlijnen - The Face of Lace - is an exhibition of contemporary lace that continues in Bruges until the end of February. Most of the exhibitions are in the museums where photography was not allowed but there were a number of outdoor exhibits and a few where photography was permitted.
How to Plant a Lace Fence (detail, below right), by Demakersvan, follows on from a number of similar works that I had seen in magazines so it was a real pleasure to be able to see the real thing. As a bobbin lace maker it was interesting to look at the techniques employed but the most important aspect is the way in which something that is usually quite ugly can be turned into a thing of beauty that enhances its surroundings. Beneath the windmill was Playgrounds, by Alphons ter Avest, one of a number of lace patterns that had been sprayed onto grass, this one was wearing well but others had all but disappeared as a result of rain and snow. A really interesting idea that works best with really parred down designs.
Laser cutting was a production method used by a number of the artists including Tjep. (Frank Tjepkema and Janneke Hooymans) for House of Textures, left. They were also responsible for three jewellery pieces in the Volkskunde Museum. Such modern methods of cutting contrast well with the exquisite antique cut-paper cards on display in the Gezelle Museum where cut works by Cal Lane (of shovels and wheelbarrow fame) and Tord Boontje were displayed.
Outdoor Wallpaper by Susan Bradley was excellent, the more you looked the more you saw. The basic motif was combined into units of four or five which were further combined to make flowing patterns. Setting such a clean cut modern work against the beautiful old wall not only highlighted their material differences but also the way in which the minor changes in surface angle subtly enhance their beauty.
The Belfry housed an exhibition of lace chairs that were all displayed above head height on blue painted packing crates. This was a very innovative presentation that really engaged the passing tourists.
Being someone who likes to get up close to displays I would have liked a ladder to hand but could see how effective the display was in catching the attention of those who would normally have passed it by. One of my favourites was Robert Stadler's Rest in Peace (centre), although I would have preferred to see the holey chair on its own and not stacked on a 'perfect' version but I suppose this was done for the contrast.
Diamond Chair by Nendo, for Lexus, is not full sized as it is made by Rapid Prototyping and there are currently no machines that are large enough to handle a full size chair. It was fascinating to look through the form from different angles and observe the changing lace patterns that emerge.
A thoroughly stimulating three days from which my favourite pieces were Serena by Rudolf Nottrot & Tamar Frank and Kingdom by Dylan Graham. It was also really good to see Loop's Sonumbra 2 in the flesh although I was disappointed that it was not staged/working at its best. Unfortunately none of these were in situations where photography was permitted.

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