Friday, December 23, 2011


There are very many things that I like about the V&A's new-ish sculpture gallery - the eclecticism, the democracy of jamming many disparate objects of one type together, the sense that what's on offer is a history of taste rather than of excellence.  And then, there's the commitment to considering the works on display as installations rather than exhibits.  This even extends to showing ceramic pieces en masse - not as a tea set, say, but as recognizing that they can best make their impact when lines up. or ranged in rows, or - as in the case of Edmund de Waal's Signs and Wonders piece, floating (all 425 vessels) on a red metal shelf suspended somewhere in the ceiling dome.  Best of all is Bodil Manz's The Russian Group (2007).  She's a Danish ceramicist who works in very thin slip porcelain - so thin that one can see the shadows of the geometric forms that she employs through the porcelain itself - and here she's borrowing wholesale from he effects of Russian constructivism in a way that brings out its links to, say, the chunky form of Battersea Power Station (the largest brick building in Europe - how I wish I could dream up some plan to rescue it ...).

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