The Onion Farm

The Tapestries Gallery is a long, narrow room kept dark to preserve the Medieval tapestries on display. The dim lighting in the gallery inspired designer Henrik Vibskov with the idea of something growing in the dark...

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
  • Saturday, 15 – Sunday, 23 September 2018

  • Room 94, Tapestries

  • Free event

The Onion Farm photo

The Onion Farm by Henrik Vibskov is a light, dynamic structure that spins along the gallery. Colourful industrial brushes and red textile ‘onions’ seem to grow from the structure. The installation will, in line with the tapestries on display, create a strong tactile impression, but, in its materiality, contrast with the space. This sense of an ancient weaving technique will be reflected in the new work, composed of colourful spindles spun together with a knitted textile.

As with many of Vibskov’s installations, everyday objects are transformed, put together in a new way to give viewers a point of recognition. In this piece, onions hanging in the dark form a structure which, combined with the industrial brushes, simulate the natural conditions in which they grow, while the brushes, with their large circles of spiny prickly hairs, create a vibrating membrane along the structure. The idea of using design to imitate and comment on everyday life draws parallels with the tapestries and their role of reflecting 15th-century people’s perspective on life.

While the tapestries cannot be touched by the public, The Onion Farm is meant to be interactive; visitors are invited to touch and move through it as they walk along the gallery. In some places, the passage narrows and forces the visitor to be brushed as they move through. Inspired by the depiction of grand nature scenes in the tapestries and their variety of wildlife tableaux, this installation, in the same way, refers to natural elements, shapes and colours but perhaps also comments on the hyper-industrialized state of agriculture today.

Part of London Design Festival at the V&A