Sex and Death: Showcasing the best of British art and design
Yesterday evening, a most miserable one in May, I headed down to Covent Garden to view the Sex and Death pop-up exhibition at 20 Earlham Street, Seven Dials.
Art and design curators, Guts for Garters, in collaboration with Fox and Squirrel, have created a show that is part shop, part exhibition space, bringing together new and established artists in an installation operating under one overall theme. The result: a range of artists and designers working together to create a unified environment.
Guts for Garters diverge away from the traditional white cube notions, choosing to display work instead in more fun and interesting ways.
The latest theme, Sex and Death, is a celebration of art and design, bringing together the historically recurring relationship between the universal concepts of sex and death. The concept was overwhelming in some pieces – an apparently-dead fake dog lying on a huge lavish bed beneath an ornate floral chandelier! – and more subtle in others.
The space was divided into a part gallery, showcasing London’s creative talent, and a part shop, selling specially sourced rare items, including clothing, furniture and food. Sex and Death features stunning fine art, photography, ceramics, jewellery, textiles and prints alongside unique fashion and furniture.
Works by contemporary artists such as Nobuyoshi Araki line the walls, while ancient objects invoking themes of sexuality, fertility and the afterlife mingle with dresses by Corrie Nielsen, creating a stark contrast between the classical and modern. What immediately popped out at me was a rail of black gowns that showed the transition from funeral attire, represented by a genuine Victorian era mourning dress, to the staple sexy little black dress, by way of 1920s beaded flapper dresses and Chanel couture.
Sex and Death features the best of British talent, including H&H, whose precious metal nails have made them hugely popular in the fashion and beauty world – read The Upcoming’s interview with creators Hannah Warner and Holly Silius here.
Sex and Death runs until 5th June 2012. For more information, visit gutsforgarters.com.