V&A Diary 181-200

Here are the next set of images which takes us to 200, and my one year anniversary at the V&A. This set of images coincided with the opening of the exhibition ‘Tim Walker: Wonderful Things‘ and the London Design Festival which filled the V&A with stunning examples of new concepts, prototypes and designs.

One exhibit was a pair of Big Chief Demond Melancon’s stunning Mardi Gras costumes, presented as a counterpoint to the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries. The huge hand-beaded Indian suits confront social issues and historical injustices – racial stereotypes, the slave trade and the history of racism and prejudice suffered by both black and indigenous Americans.

‘Robin Hood Gardens, Woolmore Street, London, E14 0HG’ is a 2018 film by the South Korean artist Do Ho Suh. In 2017, the demolition of Robin Hood Gardens began after a decade long struggle to save this brutalist landmark, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson. The V&A purchased a 3 storey section of the facade before the destruction began and commissioned Do Ho Suh to create a piece recording the essence of the building and community. The finished film was created digitally from hundreds of still images, showing interiors and exteriors seamlessly.

With the latest Brexit deadline fast approaching, its seemed timely to photograph ‘Matching Pair’, Grayson Perry’s response to Brexit and the leave/remain split across society. The pots were hand-built glazed earthenware with incised, painted and printed decoration, . I posted them on the day that the prorogation of parliament was declared ‘unlawful’…

Other posts include a sample of ‘Wreath’ Wallpaper, produced from 1876 and designed by William Morris. This example was probably printed in the 1890s (the more muted tones suggest the later date, in line with the changes in taste over the two decades). You can see the working design drawings in post V&A 164.

The famous ‘Aladdin Sane’ album by David Bowie, with its sleeve and image by Duffy Design Concepts, is a truly iconic image. Pierre Laroche’s makeup for Bowie was taken up by fans, with the signature lightening bolt appearing on faces at Bowie’s concerts in 70s, and returning as an instantly recognisable image in the flurry of tributes after his unexpected death in 2016.

‘Please do not use Smartphones while walking’ was a ‘Manners and Modernity’ campaign for Seibu Railway, illustrated by Takahiro Kadowaki in July 2017. This is one of 9 posters displayed around Tokyo on the railway network reminding commuters how to be civil and courteous passengers. They feature characters from ukiyo-e prints such as courtesans and kabuki actors enjoying life in early modern Japan.

The collection is vast, consisting of 233,742 museum objects and works of art and 2,044,441 books, drawings, prints photographs and archives, and only around a quarter of the objects are on display at any given time. The library items and archival collections are available to see by appointment in the Museum’s Study Rooms. This is my tenth set of  20 photographs and you can follow them daily on my instagram profile.

Text and images © Jonathan Dredge.

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