Thursday, 23 December 2010

Festive Inspiration

My parents moved house about a month ago. It's kind of strange for me - before this move they'd lived in the same house for about 27 years, and until I moved to Brighton, I'd never known any other 'home'.

This Christmas is the first Christmas I'm spending with my parents in a house which isn't home, and I'll be honest, I'm struggling to get in the Christmas mood. I don't think it's just the new house... I think I'm also still a bit down about the uncertainty of not having a job, and somehow I'm just finding it difficult to get into the spirit of things. I just ate my first mince pie of the year, and it didn't help.

But anyway, festive or not, I'm here at my parents new flat in Chichester, and this evening me and my Mum went to Pallant House gallery for a wander round. (Free entry Thursday evenings, how nice of them.)

I was pleasantly surprised, truth be told... last time I went round Pallant house was probably almost ten years ago, and I remember creaky floorboards, speaking in whispers, and lots of old, boring paintings. (Because when you're 12, old = boring)

Since then however they've had a massive new extension, so for the most part the creaky floorboards are gone, and there's a lot more room for their incredible collection of modern art. Mum tells me it's the biggest collection in the UK, outside of London, but you'll have to take her word for that because I'm too lazy to research it properly.
And to be honest, that's basically going to be how this blog is... I know I should have made note of all these artists names, but I just walked round, photographed things I enjoyed* and wanted to share them with you.
If you ever find yourself in Chichester I'd highly recommend you pay it a visit and see them for yourself.

I was first impressed by this lovely and appropriately festive exhibition of Christmas cards sent by artists, dating right back from the early 20th century through to the present day. Since starting uni I always like to try and design my own Christmas cards, and this little room served to remind me what a nice thing that is to do.

We then headed upstairs via this Anthony Gormley piece...

And past this huge wall of embroidered name tags, many produced by the visitors to the exhibition. The name tags were commemorating and acknowledging the thousands of women who have been murdered in Ciudad, Juarez in Mexico. I was already aware of this story, and thought this was an incredible visual way of drawing attention to it.

On into the main exhibition space, an array of delights, which I'm basically just going to fling at you in no logical or coherant order.
I particularly liked this charcol drawing. I made note of the artists name, but unfortunately I made that note in my short term memory, and my short term memory's duration is usually about 5 minutes. So I don't remember it. Sorry. But I did take two pictures. Hopefully that makes up for it...

I do, however, remember that these pieces are by Grayson Perry, whose work I love. I'd seen an article about the rug not so long ago, and it was lovely to see it in real life.

This armchair freaked me out in all kinds of ways, good and bad. I probably don't 'get' it, but then maybe there's nothing to get.

On a completely different note, I love love love this wallpaper by Damien Hirst, and would happily have it in my own home...

Along with this amazing flowerbed rug and potted plant...(not by Damien Hirst, don't actually remember the artists name). I sense they would be a bit impractical though.

Moving from the new part of the building into the old part was this incredible light installation, designed specifically for this space. I like it's reflection in the dark window outside.

Something which made me laugh, all the chairs in the old section of the building had pine cones on them. My mum who works for the National Trust tells me that this is to discourage people from sitting on them. I just found it slightly surreal.

And talking of slightly surreal... a coat made of balloons, a wall of velvet filled muscle shells, a melted teapot and a rabbit-deer humping a chicken.

Great stuff.

*I didn't see any signs specifically saying that photography wasn't allowed, but I'm guessing it's probably not. So... sorry Pallant house, I hope you can forgive me! I'm just sharing the contemporary art love. <3

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