Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grayson Perry The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

I went to see Grayson Perry's latest exhibition at the British Museum, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman last week. Exhibition info here.
I really like Grayson Perry's work, including his vibrant irreverent ceramic pieces, with their collaged surfaces and painted and scratched designs of which there were several in the exhibition. He had spent a few years researching the objects in the British Museum with the help of curators and brings together some intriging objects including Tibetan travelling shrines, maps and headresses. At the entrance to the exhibition is the customised motorbike he used for a pilgrimage with his bear Alan Measles, who is the god of Grayson Perry's imaginary world.

Alan Measles voices part of his history on the British Museum website

"So around the year 2000 Gray starts to celebrate me once more this time not as a swashbuckling hero but as a wise old friend. He finds me matured, no longer seeking endless vengeance and having to win every race. But as I re-enter the conscious human world one blot mars my new found contentment. Someone has tried to usurp my iconic position as the go-to teddy bear, someone yellow with a remarkably similar injury, an evil twin if you will. Yes, I mean that po-faced inanely smiling do-gooder Pudsey bear."

In his Head of a Fallen Giant, the head was made of hundreds of cultural icons, from Lewis chessmen , CND signs, post boxes and Tower Bridge, to country cottages and acorns.

Grayson Perry writes, " Part of my role as an artist is similar to that of a shaman or witch doctor. I dress up;I tell stories, give things meaning and make them a bit more significant"

The heart of the exhibition is his tomb to the unknown craftsman a cast iron ship full of cultural objects made by unknown craftsmen and including an ancient flint axe head, the original tool of them all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Occupy London camp outside St Paul's Cathedral

I have been over to the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp outside St Paul's a few times now.
The protest group was stopped from camping outside the London Stock Exchange by the police and so set up next to St Paul's Cathedral, which next to Paternoster Square where the Stock Exchange is.

Paternoster Square is like many new developments in London, a piece of private land, and concern to many photographers like myself who take street photography pictures. The square has remained closed by barriers and police eversince with only checked and vetted entry, which much be proving a real problem for the businesses there.

For St Paul's cathedral the protest camp proved to be a catalyst for serious thought and politicing, as three members of the clergy resigned at various points, the cathedral closed for several days and we learnt that their trustees numbered many financial leaders. Some might say the money lenders were not just in the church but had become a fundamental part of the churches organisation. A number of banners in the camp said " What would Jesus do ?" A pertinent question.
As the protesters didn't leave after the cathedral had closed it's doors, for that great catch all modern reason, health and safty concerns. The cathedral was forced to open again or look rather foolish and the camp was organised in a more permanent and sustainable manner.
The kitchen tent now has shelves to keep the food off the floor, and when I was there last week people were coming in with donations all the time.

It was great to see so many offers of generosity from the public, winter clothes, food and money while I was there. There's a cafe, legal help, information and education tents and more. Their weekly newspaper lists an impressive ammount of talks and workshops, for a great alternative perspective on society.

On the pillars around the camp artists have been at work with some very witty collage work and statements about society, the whole area a vibrant mix of cultures and strands in our modern day London.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Moontree Gallery and Mill on the Street exhibitions.

The exhibition at Atlantis Bookshop has come down and is up at the Moontree Gallery in Bournemouth thanks to Courtney who has taken these pictures of the show going up. Courtney is giving a talk there this evening, Merlin to Infinity at 7.30pm. LInk to the Moontree Gallery here


I have been working on the Street photography exhibition for The Mill "Mill on the Street" The Mill has formed as a community venue and organisation from an old library in Walthamstow.

It is great to see the place up and running, with all sorts of creative classes and events taking place. I know it took a lot of hard work on behalf of the volunteers and campaigners to get the old library and it will take a lot of work and money to kep it going. I had one of my photographs there as part of the E17 Art Trail in September and am pleased to be organising the show with Maureen, Mo, arts organiser for The Mill.

The "Mill on the Street" exhibition includes work by a number of local photographers including Rachel L'Anson, Nathaniel Legall, Imraan Ismail and Fabian Ho. It opens on Tuesday 8th November till Friday 2nd December. Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am -6pm.
There is also a Street Photography workshop on Saturday 19th November 10.30-2.30pm
Bookings at The Mill. link to The Mill site here