‘From Grimm to Reality’ Opening Night

Thinking it has been a while since my last update that was not connected to the convenience of Retweeting, tonight I have decided to write up at least one of the events and exhibitions I have attended since the start of 2013.

I cannot remember if I mentioned in a longer blog update, that through a friend, I  had been invited to the opening night of an art exhibition in Canterbury. Ever happy to show some love for local galleries and see some interesting art for the evening, of course I said yes. ‘From Grimm to Reality’ 11 January – 9 February 2013:

Imagination and the tradition of storytelling with the art of fantasy, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, is the focus of Sidney Cooper Gallery’s first exhibition of 2013.

Following the recent 200 year anniversary of the first publication of the Brothers Grimm collection of Fairy Tales, the exhibition, From Grimm to Reality, is full of references to the imagery portrayed in childhood stories and highlights the rich connection between imagination, the familiar and storytelling in contemporary art.

Works on show include all 39 etchings of David Hockney’s Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm; Paula Rego’s nursery rhyme etchings, alongside Anya Gallaccio’s ever changing Preserve Beauty from the British Council collection

From the exhibition press release

For me, the highlights of this show where the pieces not found nestled within frames.
Safely contained in 3 beautiful glass domes and accompanied by antique looking magnifying glasses, Tessa Farmer’s Mini Worlds – Slugs and Snails, depicted a snapshot of fantasy warfare where fairies attack slugs and snails for food. As shown (as clearly as my phone camera would allow me) in the top 2 images above,each piece contained a mixture of real and handmade imitation insects and slugs, painstakingly arranged in motion- in one case amidst a small animal skull. It is little wonder that with such detail to feast on, each jar received a steady amount of attention as the evening went by.

And of course, how could I forget the loveable rabhen? Or should that be chickbit?

You Wouldn’t Would You? was placed at the entrance to this exhibition and if what I witnessed was any measure, excelled in the wonderful task of bemusing visitors as soon as they entered the main gallery space. Peering imploringly up at me from its stool, I can honestly say that I have never wanted to cuddle a stuffed animal more in my life.

Compiled from a stuffed chicken and rabbit skin, this faintly ludicrous combination had a bizarre effect on me, beyond the giggling and puzzlement (and attempted stroking). Before I knew it, I had slowly anthropomorphised my dinners of the last 3 days and with Meat Free Monday slogans in my ears, vowed to go vegetarian for the month.

Of course, in standing next to the artist himself, I was in the ideal situation to ask him if this was the intended effect. I often wonder how different seeing art would be, if we were able to have personal on-the-spot Q&As with its creators!

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