qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

We are not afraid, just slightly inconvenienced

On Sunday kharin and I ventured in to London for our first visit to this season's Proms - more on that story later. But first, having ascertained from Transport for London that the Circle line was still closed (despite earlier reports that it would be running "within days", I guess the police forensic teams have been taking every bit of evidence they can find), we decided to take a leisurely stroll in the environs of Hyde Park and Kensington.

So we avoided the Diana Memorial Fountain and observed the Serpentine; Apsley House; the Wellington Monument, and its new neighbour, the Australian War Memorial, before passing the Brompton Oratory on the way to the V&A to see its International Arts and Crafts exhibition.

The displays are grouped into four main sections: Britain, America, Europe and Japan. It's interesting to see the common themes of traditional materials and images, yet also the divergent approaches. For example, in Germany the concept of mass-production was not considered incompatible with arts and crafts, so long as the finished product was of appropriate quality. Many artefacts were obviously naturalistic; in some cases, particularly the American and German sections, the influences of Art Noveau and Art Deco could be seen; and whilst the Western arts and crafts tradition used natural forms, the Japanese tradition often sought to tame and control nature by its well-defined geometries. Although I enjoyed the exhibition, it did leave me with a sense of melancholy of the impractical ideals of the movement: by eschewing mass-production the artefacts of the arts and crafts movement would inevitably be high-value items, affordable only for the Granita-dining classes; like today's organic food sector, a product that might be founded on principles of sustainability becomes unattainable for the majority of the population.
Tags: exhibitions, london, places

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