Friday, 8 June 2012

In the Realm of The Senses

Anyone arriving at this site thinking that they're going to get a review of 'Ai No Corrida', the Japanese film from the Seventies, may to be sorely disappointed.  Apparently during this controversial number, in amongst the rumpy pumpy with kimonos, a bloke gets his todger cut off.  I never saw it though as I'm sqeamish and was told by my fellow university 'Cinesoc' members that it was really boring.

No, my header today alludes to the latest exhibition at the Devon Guild of Crafts and not the sub-title to this controversal work.  'Engaging the Senses' showcases work that can be touched, heard and smelt as well as looked at.  Sadly there was nothing to taste but the cafe upstairs at the centre comes highly recommended.   We'll start of with this pleasing and tactile and earthily scented piece of willow basketry by Lise Bech.


 If other gallery visitors wanted peace and quiet during their visit they were sorely disappointed as I took the kids.  This wonderfully noisy object was conceptualised  and made by pupils from the West of England School and College which is attended by youngsters with little or no sight.  The Plymouth based artist Katie Lake, who I see goes by the rather wonder alias 'Mistress Metal' was commissioned to help realise the project and one of the students at the college Ruari, with the help of his support worker, executed vast amounts of the metalwork.  No mean feat!  Once it's been shown off to the general public, this sensory sculpture will be installed in the school's garden as a lasting legacy.

Normal exhibitions are festooned with 'Do not Touch' labels but this one bucked the trend.  You are positively encouraged to handle the pieces and some of them are even robust enough to withstand the attention of an nine year old who's inherited the accident prone tendencies of his mother.  I'm really pleased with this shot of Louis 'wearing' this work of Ruth Spaak with its three figure price tag that used flotsam and jetsam in her work to good effect.  Normally my heart would be in my mouth if my son was in  such close proximity to expensive artworks but this piece was suitably robust!

I bet you thought that I'd skirted over the olfactory sense with my piece baskets above but you were  so wrong.  It can be covered in a bit more detail  Here's some of the smelly ceramics by Jon Williams who exhibited rather realistic peppermints and lemons too.  It's a shame that taste couldn't have been incorporated into the experience of viewing these three inch high chocolate-scented clay Rolos. After all,  I'm sure that  there's lots of us out there who'd have enjoy the aesthetic pleasure of oversized confectionery.  Maybe it's something that the organisers at the Guild could bear in mind if they ever repeat this theme.   Is there any artist out there who could perhaps create a six foot high big purple Quality Street and everyone could have a nibble!

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