Have you seen this?
I came across a small gallery opposite Brighton Pavilion at the weekend and at first glance it looked like a cornershop that had seen better days. I was disappointed because I thought I was going to see something stitched according to the poster outside. When I looked again with that SO important second glance, I realised that the whole shop was made of felt and it replicated all the familiar and everyday cornershops we have grown up with (someone even went in to buy cigarettes).
Why do I think this is a great piece of art work?
Well first of all its textile, and stitch, and dare I say embroidery, and it is also such a bold cultural mirror.
Everything was for sale, (most of it already bought by Damien Hirst) everything was branded, and my sense of the real was tested. The felt newspapers were particularly engaging and had great headlines. The man next to me picked up The Guardian to read, and was told not to touch the exhibits. What was clever was the fact that the installation highlighted the need, the invitation, to touch textile with our hands as well as our eyes, almost to be certain of it’s, and our own materiality.
The cornershop was first installed in East London in a derelict shop. This is it’s second outing. Lucy Sparrow, the artist decided to re make its image in textile, using all the old shop fittings to structure it. It made me think so much about about the idea of passing and change, and about art capturing that moment, like a photograph. So often in textile we refer to cloth capturing memories and here a whole shop memory was snapped and stopped in time for us to reflect upon. It was so witty, and tactile and made me think about the way we live.