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Seeing Red

There are certain questions one gets asked several times and one of these is why is the start of the exhibition red? The simple answer is it is theatrical. Red is a colour associate with theatre, often curtains and fittings are red in the theatre and all designers know that a liberal use of red onstage is likely to win a round of applause! There is nothing political about its choice. From early in the design process we all knew we wanted strong colours to balance the black in other areas of the galleries. This week I have appreciated several …

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The Flymen and the Train bleu

Ted (left) and Paul with a big foot and the signature Last week, as I dashed off to New York, two of the flymen who worked at the July 1968 Ballets Russes auction at the Scala Theatre, London, visited the exhibition and Anna (who helped on the exhibition as it took shape) took the opportunity to chat to them. Ted Murphy and Paul Beecham have had long careers in the theatre with Ted now working as a Production Manager for the Opera in Holland Park They recalled that they were asked to hang the cloths to be auctioned in order …

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Back to the beginning

[video:http://vimeo.com/16726957 width:600 height:338]http://vimeo.com/16726957Now that there is only three and a half weeks left to catch this exhibition I thought we’d go back to the beginning and show you the video made at the opening! (Apologies for the hideous opening image.) Its fascinating too to recall the changes that have been introduced since September. More seating has been introduced, barriers have been moved, some labelling improved (we are sensitive to visitors comments) and the sound levels overall have become better balanced.

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Your Name Here

One quick definition of graphic design: putting images and text together. Of course, not every graphic includes words, but most do – and it's one of the most challenging, and therefore creative aspects of the discipline. The basic problem is that images and letters obey completely different rules – of legibility, rendering, even the way they sit on the page (lettering always seems flat, images tend to create an illusory sense of depth). This fact was exploited by Picasso in his collages. A great example is the one below, where the artist playfully cut off the title of a newspaper …

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Falling off the front of the building

There is now less than a month to go to see the Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 exhibition and its good to find that we are still getting (mostly) favourable reviews of the exhibition and the book. The book has now been reprinted and those towers of copies in the V&A bookshop restored! The Shop is still full of souvenirs a few of which have been discounted including the series of books produced by the State Museum of Theatre and Music in St Petersburg on Pavlova, Nijinsky, Kschesinskaya and Spessivtseva. They were rather expensive but …

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‘Capture’, new installation at The Gopher Hole Gallery, Hoxton

'Capture', a new installation at The Gopher Hole Gallery Gallery opening hours: 10am-6pm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Exhibition runs until February 13th 2011. 'Capture', was photographed by news website GOOD.

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The Timeline

A further aspect to the design and curation of this exhibition, will be a multi-media timeline which will highlight aspects of Yohji Yamamoto’s wider creative output. As I am currently writing the labels for this part of the exhibition, I thought I would share this with you. The timeline will consist of a mixture of clips of key fashion shows from the last 30 years of his illustrious career, some bits about his main collaborations in film, performance and photography and some very special extras. I hope that this will help shed light on Yamamoto’s extraordinary approach to collaboration. As …

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An oasis

Birmingham 2009/10 For eight months I livedon a street just off spaghetti junction on the M6. At the bottom of theinterchange was a row of semi-detached houses, which I passed most days. One house in particular stood out. Itsfront garden was crammed with palms and other tropical looking plants, seemingly defiant or oblivious to their location. The thick vegetation narrowed the path so as visitors to and from the property were swallowed or emerged like explorers. Each day I tried to imagine the view from inside the house, like an endless cinema where the curtains must part to reveal the …

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Men’s Show Spring/Summer 2011 and Lighting

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of attending Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring/Summer 2011 Menswear show. This was particularly interesting for two reasons. First of all, as soon as the first model stepped on the catwalk a sense of familiarity set in. Dressed in an off-white linen jacket with cross-stitch patches of embroidery, a light purple shirt with a bow and cropped trousers in a rich floral pattern seemingly inspired by William Morris, he looked liked he had been dipped in the V&A’s collections. As the show continued to unfold, I noticed another potential nod to our upcoming exhibition: the lighting! …

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Buzzing with Ballets Russes

As the V&A is currently more or less barricaded by road works making it a dangerous place to reach, the entrance along the South Kensington Tunnel has been opened early for staff, meaning we may enter through the Sackler Centre (the heart of Learning & Interpretation). To my delight I was greeted at 8am on a gloomy morning by wonderfully cheerful banners produced by the Blue Train project showing a portrait of Big Serge himself and an interpretation of the Train bleu front cloth. This focused my mind on all the activities going on around the exhibition – on Wednesday …

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