Revolution through soft furnishings

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I wrote the other day about an encounter in Walthamstow with the ghost of William Morris, noting that all the fine wall paper and lovely design in the world couldn't raise the consciousness of the oppressed masses.  That's the trouble with furnishings: they tend to mask false consciousness rather than reveal it.

It was good, therefore, on a rare visit to Tate Mod to find soft furnishings that embodied a strong social message.  These were curtains (or wall hangings, if you prefer) by Columbian artist, Beatriz González, who created them in 1981 from images in the popular press as a protest against the antics of the President.  The art work was hugely popular and was sold by the metre.  As the TM blurb noted: "The work became both a marketable commodity and a metaphor for corruption hiding behind the 'curtain' of public image."   Just so.  You can see it here.

A pity, maybe, that Morris hadn't the wit to do the same, although it might have dented the profits of Morris & Co a little bit.  It was only one of two pieces I remotely appreciated in T. Mod.  The other was a tower built from radios all tuned to different stations – babble / babel ... gettit? ...  As for the rest, it was like being trapped inside the pages of the Guardian: full-on images and stories of misery and human depravity.  I was glad to escape.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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