It was certainly worth going all the way to Manchester to see the Whitworth Tapestry, designed by Eduardo Paolozzi and woven in 1967/8 at Dovecot.
|Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester|
There was time to look at the galleries before going to see the tapestry. The textile gallery, exhibiting a selection of the permanent collection, was fascinating and showed both historic and contemporary works side by side. A favourite was Jennifer Vicker's Yesterday's News, a quilt made from newspapers and Judith Duffy's Sheep in Wolf's Clothing, a knitted piece which plays on the saying 'a wolf in sheep's clothing'.
There were two exhibitions running on the ground floor: 'Unstable States: John Ruskin and the Truth of Water' and 'The Land Between Us'. The Land Between Us was an exhibition featuring both contemporary and older landscapes, in a variety of mediums, displayed alongside each other. The exhibition obviously had bold intentions, exhibiting works together, which would not normally occupy the same gallery space. However the lack of labelling on many of the objects was furstrating and many of the pictures did not hold their own in the roomy gallery. That being said, the exhibition was was worth going to see, if only to experience Olafur Eliasson's installation, The Forked Forest Path.
|The Forked Forest Path, Olafur Eliasson|
|Whitworth Tapestry (detail), designed by Eduardo Paolozzi, woven by Archie Brennan, Douglas Grierson, Fiona Mathison and Harry Wright at Dovecot Studios. Whitworth Art Gallery Collection.|
To mimic the finely dotted areas of Paolozzi's design, the weavers have chosen a time-consuming method of alternating between pink and white yarn on every horizontal warp. This technique proves to be very effective and must have taken a considerable amount of patience!
The tapestry's 'object file' in the collection has a wealth of correspondance, not only about the tapestry's design and weaving, but also referring to the grants applied for to cover the cost of the tapestry. Such archival information is so invaluable and often gives an artwork an added dimension.
Whilst in Manchester I also had the opportunity to whizz into the Manchester Art Gallery where I saw one of the most amusing pieces of furniture I think I have ever seen. Click here to see Scrub Together by Jason Taylor.