Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft

V & A

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Britton Newell Laurie

Softcover | 21.6 x 1.3 x 28.6 cm | 144 pp

V & A Publishing | 2007 | 9781851775248

Published to accompany a V & A exhibition of the same name, This is a unique look at a group of international artists who place craft at the heart of their practice, transforming everyday subjects and ordinary materials into works that are out of the ordinary.

The book features unusual works including the ephemeral ice and chocolate jewellery of Naomi Filmer, the almost hidden installations by Yoshihiro Suda, thread and lace-work of Anne Wilson and found metal sculptures by Olu Amoda. These innovative artists show that craft is a fundamental concern across many disciplines, and this redirection of materials and traditional techniques and use of scale achieves extraordinary outcomes.

Nigerian sculptor Olu Amoda works with scrap metal found on the streets of Lagos. He welds large security doors and window grills with a difference using materials such as nails and discarded machinery parts.

Catherine Bertola will display an installation outside the exhibition space. She will recreate an historic wallpaper pattern from the V&A’s collections using dust gathered round the museum.

Scottish artist Annie Cattrell’s work is about capturing the evasive. She creates laser etchings of clouds inside solid blocks of glass and uses traditional lamp-work techniques to create a fragile glass sculpture representing the breath trapped inside a human lung.

Susan Collis uses embroidery and inlay to produce trompe d’oeil effects. An apparently paint-splashed dust sheet or ladder are in fact intricately embroidered or inlaid with lavish materials such as diamonds, silk and mother of pearl.

Naomi Filmer will present holographic images and dramatic jewellery designed for the forgotten spaces of the body – behind the ear, back of the knee and between the toes.

Lu Shengzhong, the Professor of Folk Art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, uses traditional paper-cutting techniques to create large scale installations of cascading red paper consisting of thousands of tiny hand-cut figures that evoke the imagery of traditional Chinese folk art.

Japanese artist Yoshihiro Suda makes precise carvings of life-like weeds and plants out of wood and installs them in unexpected places throughout the V&A, ‘growing’ from cracks in floors and on gallery walls. His work aims to reveal the beauty in simple, often overlooked things.

American artist Anne Wilson incorporates lace fragments and pins into large installations that resemble miniature landscapes. In other work, she applies traditional techniques such as crochet and lace-making to the medium of animation, bringing loose threads to life.

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