PM Gallery, in the 1940s extension to Pitzhanger Manor House, hosts a year round programme of contemporary art exhibitions from established national and international artists and curators.
17 May – 7 July
Laura Ashley, Piers Atkinson, Wali Barrech, Nigel Cabourn, Tara Dougans, Fyodor Golan, Giles, Roksanda Ilincic, Yasemen Hussein, Michael Kampe, Donna Karan, Lara Jensen, Dandi Maestre, Roland Mouret, Alex Mullins, Peter Pilotto, Zandra Rhodes, SWASH, Temperley, Cong Tri, Yiqing Yin
Bringing the outside in, this exhibition explores the unique and sustained relationship between fashion design and the natural world.
The natural world acts as an enduring source of inspiration for designers across the globe. Its presence can be seen in materiality, patterns and prints, while the fashion system itself is based on the cyclical seasons of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, illustrating paradigms of repeating renewal and decay.
Second Nature brings together over 40 designers and artists ranging from heritage brands such as Jaeger and Laura Ashley, whose use of tweeds and patterned fabrics depicting flowers and foliage have become synonymous with notions of British style, to work from Peter Pilotto, whose scientific appreciation of nature pushes the boundaries of how natural phenomena can inform contemporary processes.
Conceived as a site-specific response at PM Gallery, adjacent to Pitzhanger Manor House, the ‘dream home’ and country retreat of the revered British architect Sir John Soane, Second Nature draws on Soane’s collecting and architectural practices. With a fascination for nature, Soane spent much of his leisure time walking and fishing in the rural grounds surrounding the Manor House. The exhibition draws from these rich heritage associations, clearly woven into his professional and personal life, and evidenced in features like the original glass conservatory which was filled with ‘antique cinerary urns, sepulchral vases, statues, vines and odoriferous plants’.
Despite the technological advancing of the material work, this exhibition explores the magnetic draw of nature on the design world. Zandra Rhodes’s iconic textiles often depict landscapes, such as her Ayers Rock print, while Lara Jensen highlights the decadence of the physical world in her use of gold-plated insects and plumage. Soane himself acts as a continuing source of inspiration for contemporary designers, including Fyodor Golan and Swash, who have both cited him as a reference point.
From the earthy tones of Donna Karan’s SS12 Haiti collection, to the story of human endeavor against the forces of nature, integral to the work of Nigel Cabourn, Second Nature brings together a collection of fashion artefacts as well as looks from the catwalks of London, Paris and New York to explore this unique application.
SWASH - 'Curiosity 142 - Midnight Heligan', 2012/AW Collection: 'Phantastes'
Lara Jensen - SS13 'Vanitas' Collection, Photography by Philip Meech, Styling by Hope Von Joel, Hair by Kota Suizu, Makeup by Nat Van Zee
Sunday 9 June at 2pm
Please join us for an informal tour of the exhibition with curator Gemma Williams and Carol Swords, Programme Manager at PM Gallery & House.
Free – just turn up
Pitzhanger Manor House:
The Secret Society
A Sculptural Banquet
by Kathy Dalwood
19 April – 9 June
This spring the Soane Suite is being transformed into a most unusual banquet – the invited guests all members of a secret society but also entirely made of plaster.
This curious group is wearing extraordinary costumes that range from the stylish to the surreal, adorned with outrageous hats and unexpected accessories or unusual collars and cloaks. Their lavish dinner party has everything one could wish for – bowls of exotic fruit, magnificent multi-tiered cakes, decanters of wine and candelabra – only as with the guests all is immortalised in bright white plaster.
The Secret Society is the first solo exhibition of acclaimed London-based artist and designer Kathy Dalwood, and is the first time that her celebrated Plaster Bust collection has been shown in its entirety.
Following Sir John Soane's own liking for staging 'Gothic Banquets', Dalwood’s sculptural portrait busts reference sources ranging from Miss Havisham’s house to the Mad Hatter’s tea party, Marie Antoinette’s infamous soirées to classical bacchanalia, masked balls and Venetian carnivals. The mysterious associations are not stuck in the distant past however and also display the influence of the modernist avant garde and the world of extreme sculptural fashion.
Casting directly from real objects as diverse as model buildings, haberdashery and electrical components, these eclectic materials are sourced from flea markets, model shops, fabric shops, hardware stores, charity shops and tourist souvenir stalls. Inventively combining and adapting these resources, Dalwood creates costumes, accessories, hairstyles and headgear that bring the tradition of the plaster bust into the 21st Century.
Speaking about the exhibition, Dalwood comments: “Pitzhanger Manor was designed for busts! There are niches, plinths and mantelpieces everywhere. But given that I perceive the busts as a group of strange, detached characters occupying their own world, I thought it would be interesting to stage an event for them, so I’m creating a bizarre banquet. […] I hope that visitors will be seduced by the expressive beauty of plaster as a material and that perhaps the busts will steer people’s interest towards figurative sculpture in general, of which there are so many – at times overlooked – diverse and captivating examples in the cities, parks, palaces, cathedrals and museums of the world.”
The Secret Society is curated by PM Gallery & House in association with Matt Price. The installation has been styled in collaboration with Karina Garrick. To celebrate the exhibition, a new plaster bust has been created, inspired by the architecture of Sir John Soane and will be for sale along with other pieces from the collection.
Sunday 2 June at 2pm
Please join us for an informal tour of the exhibition with artist Kathy Dalwood and curator Matt Price.
Free – just turn up
See our Events page for other 'Big Lunch' activities happening on this date.
A site-specific installation by Rosa Nguyen
From 16 May
Rosa Nguyen is an artist-maker with an established background in ceramics and innovation in craft practice and collaboration across multiple disciplines. Her work draws upon interests in Buddhism and Zen philosophy and aspects of the natural and organic world by investigating a holistic relationship to it.
As part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival 2013, Rosa presents a series of outdoor and interior installations at PM Gallery & House, Walpole Park and Lambeth Garden Museum. Drawing on ideas of the Victorian garden folly and a tradition of tree interventions, the Tree Follies will mix ceramics with trees that have died and other natural botanical materials found within the grounds. In Ealing, the work will explore links between pattern and form, and reference the history of the Park and Manor House whilst owned by Sir John Soane in the early 1800s.
Follow the exhibition progress
Image Credit: Rosa Nguyen - Tree Follies