Friday, July 04, 2008

Craft Revolution

Marisa Molin: From the series Symbiosis

Last week-end I went to see "Craft Revolution" at QUT Art Museum. From the website:

"Craft Revolution explores the idea that craft is radical and revolutionary, through an exhibition and online discussion. Rejecting the dominant culture of consumption and the loss of community, craft is a means of creation and engagement that is slow, purposeful and often cooperative. It is this rejection of the dominant consumptive culture and the return to historic or traditional practices that makes craft revolutionary."

The show is only quite small, I found it disappointingly so. It includes some traditional craft works as well as more contemporary pieces. Personally, I'm not really sure they really added much, although the message was clear: your craft doesn't have to be highly conceptual in order to be radical. Still, it was works with a conceptual base that I found most inspiring.

Marisa Molin's works (above) were a case in point. Contemporary jewelry makers are currently among the most radical craftspersons, in my opinion. Working with the relationship of adornment to the body opens up so many avenues. I was especially pleased to see the actual works by Molin, in addition to the photos depicting them in relation to the body.

Another work that really appealed to me was a gorgeous dress by Tallulah Filloy which brought together aspects of traditional Maori costume with a skirt made from a beautiful red bathmat. Yes , I said bathmat. And yes, if it was in my size, I'd wear it!"Our Father Who Art in Heaven", 2008 by Ann-Maree Hanna

But my favourite work was this one by Ann-Maree Hanna. Unfortunately I couldn't find a picture of it as it is installed for this show. It is quite breathtaking in it's beauty and profound in it's message. The work is made from embroidery thread and is a scrolled version of the Lord's Prayer written in arabic. The calligraphic lines of the script rendered in gold are suspended from one end and gently fall to the floor, where the rest of the prayer remains on its giant bobbin. The lighting is used to great effect to cast the shadow of the words onto the wall. The bringing together of Christianity with the language of the troubled middle east is such a beautiful sight, I'd recommend this exhibition for this piece alone.

You can read and see more about this show on the QUT website (where I found the photos, and sorry, I don't have permission) and on the associated blog.

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