Lost in Lace will see 20 leading international artists take over the Gas Hall at Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (BMAG) this Winter. Running 29th October 2011 to 19th February 2012, this exhibition will explore the relationship between textiles—specifically lace—and space through a series of dramatic and ambitious new site sensitive installations. Produced in partnership by BMAG and the Crafts Council, the exhibition brings together both leading and emergent artists and makers—many of whom will be exhibiting in the UK for the first time. From the intricate to the monumental, these contemporary works will challenge the viewer's existing notions of space, encouraging them to renegotiate the mysterious new environments and blurred and shifted boundaries that emerge. The work exhibited spans a diverse range of materials, practices and inspirations. Atelier Manferdini, supported by Swarovski, will present a stunning inverted crystal cathedral hanging from ceiling to floor. Other large-scale works include acclaimed Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota's web of interlacing black thread, eerily entrapping a white staircase. French artist Annie Bascoul's dual installation evokes a sensual environment: an intricate cotton screen casts shadows across the floor as a delicate bed of feathers floats above the text of an erotic poem.
Leading British maker Michael Brennand Wood will explore his anti-militaristic sentiments in his series of red and black aluminium roundels, connected in a constellation-like pattern. Lise Bjørne Linnert's Fences also raises political issues, as each photograph depicts an area of fence she has embroidered to highlight a hole. Often undertaken in conflict zones, her work investigates the notion of these contentious boundaries.
The exhibition will also see a number of artists that employ detailed scientific process and knowledge in their work. Tamar Frank's grid of phosphorescent threads glow to reveal complex 3D parabolic curves, whilst the lace-like pattern stencilled onto Alessia Giardino's photo-catalytic concrete panels develops through exposure to airborne pollution, and Kathleen Rogers uses new microscopy equipment to expose thread structures. These, alongside many other new and exciting works, will provide an immersive and multi-sensory experience for the viewer, and reveal the radical new approaches to textile and space made by artists and makers around the world. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue containing background information and interviews with the participants, edited by exhibition curator Lesley Millar MBE. Parallel to Lost in Lace, BMAG presents an exhibition focussing on the research, reinterpretation and redisplay of their historic lace collection.
Lost in Lace is the first exhibition programmed through the Crafts Council's biennial Fifty: Fifty scheme,
through which the Crafts Council co-funds and co-produces an exhibition with a partner organisation chosen
by open selection. Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council said of the partnership:
'We are thrilled to be working with BMAG on this exciting inaugural Fifty:Fifty exhibition. Lost in Lace will
encourage people to think about the fabric of the spaces we live in through extraordinary textile pieces created by
prolific international artists. We believe this will draw new audiences to see the sort of contemporary craft that
they may have never seen before.'
Rita McLean, Head of Museums & Heritage Services, BMAG added: 'BMAG is proud to be the first partner in the Crafts Council's new Fiffy:Fifty programme. We hope that Lost In Lace will increase public awareness of contemporary craft, regionally and nationally, through the exciting worldclass work it will present.'
The exhibition is curated by Lesley Millar MBE, Professor of Textile Culture at University for the Creative Arts. Millar received a Crafts Council Spark Plug Curator Award in 2009 to develop an ambitious, innovative and high quality exhibition concept and used the award to develop Lost in Lace. Millar explains: 'In this exhibition I have asked an international group of artists, makers, and designers to move beyond their usual margins of practice. My challenge was: how to shape the perception of the potentially radical relationship between the structure of lace networks and architectural space? Their responses have been to question the ways in which we move through space and the nature of boundaries and thresholds. With no defined narrative path through the exhibition, visitors will be encouraged to confront the same questions, as they are invited to move freely within, through and around the works.'
Lost in Lace
Gas Hall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square, Birmingham