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art: obsessive compulsive craft

Edited by: catrin davies
on February 10th, 2012
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So this week New York is getting Fashion and in London we're getting Culture. A month's worth of art openings seem to have happened in a week, and for me - in one night - proving nothing sharpens the mind than three hours crossing London in a demi-blizzard, in search of the next art fix. 

I started the week with the intention of writing about the Victoria & Albert Museum's Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton exhibition, but on the advice of a friend (whose critique consisted pretty much entirely of 'Prince Charles had really fat cheeks when he was little') and feeling not particularly patriotic I decided against it (and guess what I don't care about the Olympics either). 

So my night of ART, started off on a slightly maniacal note at the Yayoi Kusama retrospective at Tate Modern. Kusama is a true friend of the fashion designer; this season: spots; next season: spots; Spring/ Summer 2013…. erm, spots. Keeping it surreal. 

Then it was off to the much-hyped Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery; a collection of one hundred of his lovers, muses, family members and friends captured in that uniquely Freudian greyscale palette. I know there must be truy beautiful artworks here, problem is, you can't see them for the back of other people's heads. 

So, from the sublime to the Shoreditch, and what sounded suspiciously twee on paper, turned out to be my highlight. Usually I recoil from the mere sight of a bit of bunting, but  the promise of some Obsessive Compulsive Craft is always enough to trigger interest; there's something about that mad conviction to the cause, alll those hours devoted to threading needles and casting-off that appeals to my much-more-motivated alter ego.

Yarn 'interventionist' Agata Olek, has recently moved from New York to London and is currently flaunting her handicraft in her first UK solo show at Tony's Gallery in Shoreditch. The show is cheerfully titled, I do not expect to be a mother, but I do expect to die alone (obviously sounded right up my street) and was indeed every bit as reassuringly mad as Kusama's spots, in its all-consuming repetitiveness. The installation involves the construction of an apartment, made  entirely from graffiti-style yarns. Imagine a wool store being physically sick, and you start to get the picture.  Its pretty mind-blowing in scope and detail, and begging to be put in a store window. 

So, my tip for anyone that's in town for London for Fashion Week: give Liz a wide berth, get there early for Lucian and head East for your craft fix.

Olek's exhibition will run at Tony's Gallery, London until March 23


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