Monday, May 21, 2007

Surreal Things

Without a doubt, one of the most remarkable retail spaces in London at the moment is the temporary shop at the V&A's Surreal Things exhibition.

I found the exhibition fantastic, but the shop alone is worth a visit. The design team has plundered ideas from the Surrealists and their followers, including Elsa Schiaparelli. The result is incredibly entertaining and seductive - it certainly worked on me - I couldn't resist buying things, dspite my present abject poverty.

As always, the V&A's exhibition was beautifully designed: big on visual impact and playful in a surreal way but clear and concise in its organisation of the information.

The emphasis is on applied arts - stage and interior design, furnishings, textiles and fashion. This aspect of the Surrealist project is not so familiar (at least to me) and I found it fascinating. One of the exhibits is Schiaparelli's notorious monkey coat: absolutely 'ick' - and meant to be - but absolutely gorgeous as a coat. Wow. Of course, since it was made the whole idea of fur has acquired more and more taboos in society, as Pete Burns discovered to his chagrin on Celebrity Big Brother last year. I'm surprised the V&A hasn't attracted more negative publicity because of it. For example, have the police tested it's endangered species status??!

Victoria and Albert Museum
Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design
29 March 2007 - 22 July 2007

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