20 March 2014

The story of "museum-maze" finishes a chapter

They do say: Read the rules carefully! - which I hadn't done ... so it's no surprise that, on revisiting them, I noticed the emphasis on "inspired by the V&A's collections" - and the need for an item number that the submitted work was inspired by.

Some panicky online search found this - museum no. A.3-2010 -
a mosaic panel by Jesse Rust, made most probably as a trade sample by the owner of the London Vitreous mosaic company, sometime between 1860 and 1890. It shows the kind of motifs that were used in the mosaic floors - and in the tiled floors as well.

Jesse - might that have been a woman? Mosaics were considered "a suitable job for a woman" - and it was a woman who founded a paving-stone company ... or invented a non-slip material ... in the 19th century ... which unfortunately I can't find details of, but remember this factoid from years ago. No, Jesse is male, and the company was located in Battersea.

Undaunted, I carried on - printing the eight pages of photos on the laser printer and waxing them carefully ... but too much of the toner came off and the pages look splodgy.
Tried printing on our inkjet, but it has "issues" and left white lines
... so splodgy it will have to be, for now, and if this gets accepted for the show, I'll have time to print, wax, and stitch again. The stitching is a simple line along the bottom of the pictures - of course when the book is folded up, the stitching appears and disappears in various directions.

Attempt at a photo setup -
too gloomy! It needs to be light ... and what should come to hand but an offcut of perspex, which fit perfectly into the bottom of a picture frame and could be propped up with a stick -

Now the filling in of the form... "Tell us why you chose this piece and how it inspired you":

The motifs in the panel are related to the mosaic floors of the museum, which have an interesting history - many of the mosaic floors were made by women in prison and brought to the museum in sections.

Visitors walk over the floors without really noticing them, concentrating on the displays or on finding their way through the maze of rooms, their destination often the shop or cafe ("a museum is more than its collections").

"Walking the Museum Maze" brings together the floors of the V&A and their current users, linking them to their designers and makers and the many people who have walked through the museum throughout the years.

The book is a complex leporello format, needing turning in the hand when read page by page, just as a museum visitor's path will twist through rooms and along corridors. Photographs were digitally printed and the paper then waxed; the transparency of the book (and its perspex shelf) evokes the way that floors, however decorative, quickly go unnoticed. The thread path acts like a map to orient the reader/viewer.

This work is one of a series of books and animations set in London museums, examining movement in or between them.

200 words exactly - the submission form makes sure you can't write any more than that.

Three photos - this and two detail shots- are attached, carefully avoiding showing the splodgy bits.
And off it went - a day before the deadline!

Alas, dear readers, this isn't entirely the end of the story ... to quote myself: "This work is one of a series of books and animations set in London museums, examining movement in or between them." It's a plan for the work for the rest of the course.

On coming across this image (by Palestinian artist Khaled Hourani, from here)
I reconsidered whether the "maze" could be represented in 2D, on a flat sheet. As I now have time on my hands - and  there were leftover printouts - I patched them together ("magic" sellotape on the back) and used the dressmaker's wheel to draw in the "path".
Not worth the effort! ... still, it's nice to be able to act on an idea instantly.

Moving on to something else now. [Sighs of relief all round.]


Jane Housham said...

I've just caught up with the whole sequence of your Museum Maze posts. Really interesting process to get to the end product. I hope they pick your piece.

irene macwilliam said...

I like the last piece in your blog. You say not worth the effort but I find so much to see in it, the jumbly look appeals to me.

Chris Gibson said...

The images are beautiful - I really like the last piece too. There is something nostalgic about it (the sepia perhaps?) and the layering creates intrigue. Fingers crossed that they pick yours.