Picking up where we left off last Tuesday evening, after a brief glass of bubbly and bite to eat at the Salt Resortwear x Saloni soiree, my party pal Charlie May and I braved the unseasonable chill to make for event number two, the Max Mara Art Prize for Women Private View at The Whitechapel Gallery. With a will of steel (and a wallet of small change only) I resisted the temptation to leap in the nearest cab, a decision both of us regretted when we somehow managed not only to get off a tube stop too early but then walk for ten minutes in precisely the wrong direction. Once again, my sense of direction had failed me (despite having made the exact same journey just five days before) so I deferred to the far superior navigating skills of Google Maps and we made it. I’m not an art expert by any stretch of the imagination but I do adore visiting exhibitions, with
fine free wine and fabulous company thrown into the mix it’s one of my favourite pastimes. As East London’s mekka of cultural cool, any event at The Whitechapel Gallery attracts a stellar crowd. With this year’s Max Mara prize winner, Laure Prouvoust being one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary artists around, last Tuesday place was packed fit to burst with the city’s artistic elite.
After dumping our many, many layers and trying to make ourselves look slightly less windswept we made our way into the exhibition space where Laure had created a vast, cylindrical installation. The inner walls were covered with kalaidescopic collages and monitors displaying mesmerizing moving images. Once we’d passed through the installation (no mean feat given the number of guests ogling the artwork) we emerged the other side to be confronted by a vast screen displaying the second part of Prouvoust’s installation, a film featuring fragments of footage ranging from birds and fish devouring fruit to women bathing in idyllic waterfalls. Prouvoust cited the “aesthetic and sensual pleasures of Italy” as her inspiration and these influences came through both subtly and clearly in the exhibition.
The two part installation felt both seductive and innocent and the experience of entering it was immersive without being overwhelming. A air of dreamlike exoticism came by way of brightly coloured tropical fruit, background birdsong and the way in which we were directed from one slightly surreal, often out-of-focus shot to another. On one level, Laure Provoust Swallow was an inspired and imaginative feat of contemporary art, on another it was a welcome if all-too-brief escape from the bitter London weather.
The exhibition runs until April 7th, admission is free and I’d definitely recommend going to see it!
Love Ella. X