Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

. . . and up and down the City Road

Yesterday I went to London with Caroline Brown, a talented textile artist and very entertaining companion; in town we dodged the showers and hopped on a red London double-decker (Caroline's idea, I 'do' the underground when in London and wish I was more familiar with the buses) and alighted in the City Road.


A soundtrack immediately started playing in my head . . .

da-da-di-daaa  daa-da-da
da-da-da-daaa  da-da-daaa-di-daaa
. . . in and out the Eagle
and up and down the City Road

We were on way to see 'The Vanity of Small Differences' by Grayson Perry at the Victoria Miro gallery in Wharf Road, a narrow lane leading down to the Regent's Canal between old warehouse buildings off the City Road.

As we approached the side of the old warehouse housing the gallery we saw a small crowd of people by a doorway . . . was it a queue? No. It was a gaggle of art students having a fag-break.

We pushed open the solid grey doors and stepped inside a vast exhibition space . . . in the first room were a number of sculptural accumulations of objects by Sarah Sze which looked as if they may start to move around the gallery if someone flicked a switch.

Slim girls in vintage-emporium clothes and young men in tightly cut suits hovered around the edges of the gallery space. Caroline asked where the Grayson Perry tapestries were to be found . . . "through the back, turn right and up the stairs".

"through the back" was outside into a surprising courtyard garden with a decking area overlooking a pond . . . among the duckweed and bullrushes floated dozens of football-sized silver balls.

"up the stairs" was up an immensely steep, narrow and long flight of stairs right to the top floor of the warehouse!

and through a chicane in a grey corridor into here . . .


. . . a room buzzing with excited chit-chatter and a bunch of down-to-earth sorts whose usual habitat is anywhere in middle-England – but hardly ever in an edgy ex-warehouse gallery on the edge of Islington.


What we were all getting excited about were Grayson Perry's latest tapestries which resulted from a 'safari' into the natural habitat of the taste tribes of England – filmed by Channel 4 for the TV series 'In the Best Possible Taste'.

And as with his British Museum exhibition, 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman', 'The Vanity of Small Differences' promotes an atmosphere of delighted chatter between strangers and delight in finding familiar references. It also pulls one up short and makes you look at your own 'taste' and 'style'; Grayson Perry has created a mirror in which we can all see ourselves.


Alongside the six huge digitally-woven tapestries, there are two colour drawings and three large pots; this one was our favourite – it made us laugh out loud!


After a very good lunch in the Narrow Boat pub by the canal, we went our separate ways up and down the City Road . . .  I couldn't help but make up new lyrics to 'Oranges and Lemons'Suggs's homage to Ian Dury . . .

. . . well it's raining cats'n'dogs again
three months in a row
in and out the puddles
up and down the City Road . . .

Eventually, and looking very much like a drowned rat, I reached Museum Street – right opposite the British Museum, to pop into Edwards & Todd with more of my linocuts and also cards, for Gary and Jonathan to sell in there lovely shop.


I didn't care about having wet feet . . . because look!!! my 'Easter hen' linocut is there in the window display (bottom right) alongside work by Richard Bawden, Mark Hearld and Kiran Ravilious.


When I was in the shop I promised Jonathan I'd do more 'hare' designs . . . so I'd better get on with it!

Celia
x

BTW… for those of you unfamiliar with real London accents ... listen to Suggs's pronunciation of 'politely' ... pure gold!

20 comments:

  1. The Grayson Perry exhibition is on my list for next week. How exciting to have your prints in the window at such a prestigious location and in such good company!

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    1. I'm sure you'll enjoy it Gina, have a lovely day in London.

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  2. Wonderful - I'm definitely going to go now!

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    1. Hurrah! I'm sure it will make you laugh... remember to read ALL the sentences woven into the pictures.

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  3. I don't know why you sound to be in awe of having your work displayed with those other artists, your work is every bit their equal.

    That Sarah Sze's work is very odd, made me feel uncomfortable.

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    1. Mmmm... I know what you mean about SS's work, it reminded me of the stuff that accumulates in the corners of art college studios.

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  4. Celia, I wish that I could see that GP tapestry show, and even more that I could have seen it with you.

    Wonderful that the Museum St gallery wishes to have more of your work. Perhaps you might be sending them some works inspired by those beautiful summer pea pods and flowers?

    Best wishes. xo

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    1. You would love the gallery space and the view across north London. The tapestries are full of subtle class references which might be complex to explain to someone from NY.

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  5. Replies
    1. London is vibrant and buzzy. It's a good to be able to go in by train for a day, then escape.

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  6. Celia, this looks like a fab exhibition. I think GP is becoming a bot of national hero or even national treasure. He's certainly got his finger on the pulse of what's happening around him. As for City Road, I worked there on The Independent back in the late 1980's. If you ever go back there search out Bunhill Fields, the non conformist cemetary. It's where the likes of Blake and Defoe are buried and it is a fascinating stop off from the hustle and bustle only yards away.

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    1. Exactly our thoughts! And yes, through the torrential rain I did glimpse the gate into Bunhill Fields (must go back on a dry day).

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  7. you've made it when your artwork has made it to the bright lights of the metropolis! Don't you know the streets are paved with gold down here!! Fantastic!

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    1. Thank you! Not that much gold coming my way... a few quid maybe!

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  8. How exciting, Grayson Perry's tapestries - I'd love to get to see them - and your work in a window display all in the same afternoon!

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    1. It was a good afternoon, despite the rain!

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  9. What a fantastic trip around London's art scene Celia. Thank you for all the great links. Hope your linocuts do well. Have made a note to pop into Edwards & Todd the next time I'm down in London.

    Sorry to have missed you at Emma's on Sunday.

    Jeanne
    x

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    1. Must have missed you by a whisker... lovely wasn't it!

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  10. I found the programme on TV really interesting so am thrilled to hear that you've seen the real tapestries...

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    1. The TV programmes were excellent, I do hope they are repeated, GP is an excellent interviewer (and interviewee).

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