Monday, 21 October 2013

Subversive exhibitionism comes to Brighton


by George Ward.

The recently opened Subversive Design exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery helpfully defines the word subversive as you enter as “Having tendency to overturn," and, "to turn upside down.”

Most of the works attempt to challenge your preconceptions about everyday items and create a discussion about some of society’s problems. Unfortunately, many of them were so unsubtle that very little discussion was required.

The best exhibits were simply the most beautiful ones that made me feel uplifted. The daisies in the chamber of a glass gun and replacing the pin in a glass grenade turned these violent objects into “emblems of hope and peace” as artist Layne Rowe intended.

Other notable pieces were those that suggested another use for things that we normally treat as rubbish (such as Rebecca H Jocelyn’s Crumpled can jug made of precious metals, see picture). It shows the propensity for humans to throw away things of value.


I was extremely irritated by the wallpaper named Sharp Descent/Death from Above depicting sharp objects that appear to be falling but with their sharp ends pointing upwards. I wandered if maybe it was the wrong way round like the two Rothkos at the Tate Modern in London.

The gallery is holding various events related to the exhibition including An Insight into Subversive Design where four of the designers will talk about their pieces (Saturday 30th November 2013, 1-4.30pm, tickets £20, £15 concessions).

The exhibition is open 10am-5pm Tue-Sun until 9th March 2014 and is £6 for adults, £4 for concessions, free for children (aged 5-15) and £3 for Brighton and Hove residents.

For more information, visit the the gallery's site.

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