I’m finally getting around to telling you all about the Mindful of Silver exhibition which is currently running at Goldsmiths Hall, London.
This show curated by Julie Chamberlain invited twelve silversmiths to keep all the material produced during the process of designing and making a vessel. This material including sketches, photographs and models was then exhibited alongside the finished piece. The result is a really interesting combination of beautiful silver items displayed alongside tea stained sketches and roughly done models.
I loved the idea for this exhibition. I invariably look at silver items wondering how they were made and what influenced the aesthetic. With this work I still looked at the process and the techniques used in the final piece but now there was an exhibit of research work which begins a whole new dialogue with each piece. This informs another dimension of the work, both the concepts and silversmithing techniques. So the show becomes about the intellectual process rather than the finished object. For the curator this is fundamental, here she discusses her dislike of the word inspiration!
as if the final object had just pinged in out of nowhere. Intellectual development takes as long as the making.
It really enhances the work to see the starting point of the artist, some of which begin with the concept and other the techniques. The show’s name ‘Mindful of Silver’ also informs this idea, this marring of ideas and concepts with a respect for the silver as a material.
Some criticism of the exhibition has been that certain artists have not produced innovative final products or have not pushed themselves to fully explore the concept of the show. It has also been said that they have not been entirely honest in their supporting materials, which may have been edited and enhanced retrospectively. Whether any of these statements are true or not, it doesn’t take from the overall idea of the show. Silversmiths work is often just appreciated for the ‘making’ time and the material costs. It’s refreshing to see a show that highlights the concept and developmental work behind these silver objects.
I had great intentions of taking lots of photos but they don’t allow cameras so here are some of the catalogue pictures.
I wrote about the work of Lucian Taylor last week. Click here to read that article.
David Clarke displayed a number of manipulated antique silver spoons. This humorous collection is informed by a number of models, drawings and photocopies which explore the the forms and how they can be pushed and exaggerated.
Sarah Denny‘s hand raised vessels evolve from a series of sketches which explore each stage of the hand raising process. Her work is influenced by forms in nature such as vegetables which she photographs and then draws over to explore the shapes and curves.
Theresa Nguyen’s work is also influenced by nature. Her preparatory work includes sketches and models of leaves, focusing on form and movement, in particular the overlapping patterns.