The V&A Christmas Tree 2004
December 2004 - January 2005
For Christmas 2004, the V&A commissioned fashion designer Matthew Williamson to design the Museum's second Christmas tree. Decked with over 1,000 pink roses, birds and insects, it combined the idea of a traditional tree with a contemporary design approach.
2 December 2004 - 27 February 2005
Beauty was a journey through the Museum’s extraordinary permanent collections. Design guru Stephen Bayley took visitors on a tour of 26 V&A objects he finds beautiful, from Canova’s chillingly erotic ‘Sleeping Nymph’ to the austere industrial geometry of a Bauhaus desklight. The trail was designed to excite speculation and stimulate debate rather than define this ever present, but fugitive, subject.
7 October 2004 - 9 January 2005
Ilse Bing initially taught herself photography to illustrate her research into Neo-classical architecture. In 1929 she bought a Leica camera and started to photograph new buildings in and around Frankfurt. The architect Mart Stam commissioned her to record several of his ambitious projects, including the Hellerhof housing development pictured here. Dizzy angles, flat plains and strong shadows were all part of a contemporary language of design pioneered by both the 'New Photography' and the new architecture.
Black British Style
7 October 2004 - 16 January 2005
The style of black people in Britain has had a profound affect on this country's cultural diversity. In turn the black population has drawn on a range of influences and countries to express their own cultural identity. Black British Style explored clothes and the bodies that wear them, looking at what made this style so significant. Showing garments worn by 'style leaders' as well as 'real people', the exhibition focused on fashion but also incorporated music, photography and film.
Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800
23 September – 5 December 2004
Encounters explored three hundred years of artistic, cultural and technological interaction and exchange between Asia and Europe. The exhibition showed how East and West have always been fascinated with each other, and that the desire for and appeal of the exotic has shaped the material culture of both.
Christopher Dresser 1834-1904: A Design Revolution
9 September - 5 December 2004
Christopher Dresser (1834–1904) was considered the first independent industrial designer, running a studio supplying designs to manufacturers including Wedgwood, Minton and Coalbrookdale. The exhibition examined Dresser’s career with examples of his silver, metalwork, furniture, ceramics, textiles, wallpaper and watercolours displayed.
The Other Flower Show 10 Artists. 10 Sheds
29 May - 11 July 2004
2004 was the Year of Gardening, and to celebrate, the V&A staged The Other Flower Show. Ten garden sheds were transformed by a group of artists and designers all exploring the theme of flowers, gardens and nature. Each shed offered a different experience - some interactive, others offering a glimpse into a different world. The Other Flower Show took art out of the gallery, flowers out of the greenhouse and created an artistic alternative to the traditional flower show.
20 May - 30 August 2004
Shhh... was an 'invisible exhibition' which took you on a sonic journey through the V&A. From the magnificent Raphael Gallery to the grand Victorian stairwells, a diverse group of leading artists and musicians - Cornelius, David Byrne, Elizabeth Fraser, Faultline, Gillian Wearing, Jane and Louise Wilson, Jeremy Deller, Leila Arab, Roots Manuva and Simon Fisher Turner - created unique responses to the objects and spaces in the museum.
Vivienne Westwood: A Retrospective
1 April - 11 July 2004
This was the first ever complete Vivienne Westwood retrospective, undoubtedly one of the greatest living British designers. Westwood uses the textile and dress collections of the V&A as a source of inspiration and this show chronicled her creations from the early days of punk to the present day.
Bill Brandt: A Centenary Retrospective
24 March – 25 July 2004
Celebrating the centenary of the birth of Britain's best-loved photographer of modern times, this exhibition presented 155 vintage gelatin-silver prints from the Bill Brandt Archive. Brandt's best-known work documents the vivid social contrasts in Britain during the World Wars. He also photographed the landscapes of 'Literary Britain' and a pantheon of great artists and writers.
12 February - 25 April 2004
From the mundane to the extravagant, the strictly functional to the wildly ostentatious, Brilliant looked at the range of objects created in response to the desire for artificial illumination.