Thursday, July 29, 2010

The New Decor

The New Decor at the Hayward Gallery is part of Festival Brazil which runs until 5th September. The exhibition brings together the work of 36 artists from 22 countries. They all take interior design as a starting point for their installations/sculptures.
Amongst my favourites is Lee Bul's Sternbau No.3, (left), a chandelier inspired by the unrealised work of architect Bruno Taut.
I was also very taken with Nicole Wermers' Untitled Bench, a large perspex case enclosing large stones/small boulders of golden quartzite, purple slate and granite. Each stone is a thing of beauty that could be admired in a vitrine in its own right but here they question whether their purpose is decorative or practical - are they merely ballast that happens to look good or is their weight a happy sideline to their visual appeal?

The real highlight for me was Mona Hatoum's Interior Landscape - a truly inhospitable bed with its framework of barbed wire supports a pillow with a straggle of stray hairs. On closer inspection the hairs mark out the outline of a map of Palestine, a theme repeated with the bent coat hanger on the wall hooks. Maps also feature in the bag on the hooks and the tray on the bedside table.
These maps are complemented/reinforced by the World Map rug positioned outside the room setting of Interior Landscape.

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