2 October 2010 to 6 March 2011
Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex, is delighted to present Contemporary Eye: Crossovers, a series of interventions in the eighteenth-century house and new wing galleries by international contemporary artists exploring traditional craft techniques such as ceramics, glass, textiles, wood carving, and taxidermy. Artists include Grayson Perry, Gary Hume, Edmund de Waal, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Polly Morgan.
Traditionally the preserve of applied artists, in recent years craft techniques have increasingly ‘crossed over' into fine art territory, often with a radical or subversive edge. Since Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003 for his labour-intensive, but controversially decorated coil-pots, the art world has lost its fear and disdain for the word ‘craft', with contemporary collectors increasingly acquiring adventurous artworks constructed in traditional techniques such as ceramics and taxidermy.
Contemporary Eye: Crossovers celebrates this experimentation, featuring works - sometimes shocking in nature which radically challenge associations of twee country craft-shops. Artists such as Grayson Perry, Barnaby Barford and Debbie Lawson re-imagine traditional techniques to bring new meanings and arguments to their work. In each case the craftsmanship of the piece is inextricably bound up with the work on both a conceptual and aesthetic level.
The exhibition places the works in a playful dialogue with the domestic setting of Pallant House, a Grade 1-listed Queen Anne townhouse, alongside which stands a contemporary extension. Chippendale furniture from the historic rooms is relocated into the modern gallery spaces and placed in juxtaposition with a carved Arabic screen by Susan Hefuna and Nina Saunders' amorphous furniture featuring taxidermied animal heads.
Meanwhile, Barnaby Barford's ceramic tableaux of darkly witty figurines engage in a wry conversation with the Gallery's collection of 18th century Bow Porcelain figurines, and Mona Hatoum's glass hand grenades lay unexploded amongst a delicate collection of historic Irish glass.