Telling Tales at the V&A


Robber Baron Table (2006) By Studio Job.

Telling Tales, a free exhibition now running at the V&A, London, is subtitled Fantasy & Fear in Contemporary Design. Looking at Studio Job’s timely and prescient Robber Baron Table, “fear and loathing” might be more suitable; a must for the current crop of squalid parasites in the banking industry. And speaking of parasites, among the exhibits there’s also the gilded grubs of Kelly McCallum whose work was featured here last September.

This exhibition explores the recent trend among European designers for unique or limited edition pieces that push the boundaries between art and design. It showcases furniture, lighting and ceramics, designed by a new generation of international designers, including Tord Boontje, Maarten Baas, Jurgen Bey and Studio Job, who are all inspired by the spirit of story-telling. Each tells a tale through their use of decorative devices, historical allusions or choice of materials, sharing common themes such as fantasy, parody and a concern with mortality.

Telling Tales runs until October 18, 2009.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Al Farrow’s Reliquaries
Kelly McCallum’s insect art

Al Farrow’s Reliquaries


Trigger Finger and two Ribs of Santo Guerro (detail).

Amazing sculpture from Al Farrow’s Reliquaries series. Gun parts, bullets and bones, about which the artist says this:

I am not a gun person. My fascination with guns is with their function and use. It is the ubiquitous presence, seeming necessity and actual accessibility of guns in our culture that inspires my investigation. I am interested in their impact on society and cultures: Past, Present (and Future).

I do not personally use guns (Except as a medium for making art), so I was amazed at the availability of gun related paraphernalia when I started to accumulate supplies for this body of work.

I am also perpetually surprised by the historical and continuing partnership of war and religion. The atrocities committed in acts of war absolutely violate every tenet of religion, yet rarely do religious institutions speak against the violations committed in the name of God. Historically, Popes have even offered eternal salvation to those who fought on their behalf (The crusades, etc.).

In my constructed reliquaries, I am playfully employing symbols of war, religion and death in a facade of architectural beauty and harmony. I have allowed my interests in art history, archeology and anthropology to influence the work. The sculptures are an ironic play on the medieval cult of the relic, tomb art, and the seductive nature of objects commissioned and historically employed by those seeking position of power.

And when you’ve looked through the small pieces, there’s the cathedral


Previously on { feuilleton }
Guillaume Bijl’s buried church