Welcome to Object Lessons Space
Object Lessons Space was conceived in response to what I felt, was a gap in how we approached art. With media platforms focused on the contemporary artist as a creative individual and genius, the artwork as an object — its history, how it was made and for whom it was made — can often get lost in translation.
For example, this coffee cup set from the Persian Qajar court is interesting in its imagery, as it features a harmonious blend of astrological and religious figures.
The roundels depict the Moon, Saturn, a Hindu deity, Jupiter, Mars and a young kneeling woman. Drinking from this cup, the Shah would have literally been holding the cosmos in his hands — a powerful statement for any ruler.
It also evidences how practices such as astrology and divination existed alongside other scientific and religious ideologies within the Islamic Qajar court.
Or, take this evening coat designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Jean Cocteau.
Cocteau provided the sketches for the jacket's design, which Schiaparelli breathed to life in this creation. Schiaparelli was active between the two World Wars, creating fantastical designs that were wearable, tangible forms of Surrealist ideals.
Schiaparelli's work lay the foundations for couture as we recognise it today, especially in terms of fashioning the mystique and brand about the fashion house.
In response, I'll be talking to a series of guests about art as objects. I believe that we can learn a great deal from observing, unpacking and scrutinising works of art. My guests will be choosing the art object from which our conversations start, and we'll then move on towards talking about issues that embody the work, such as theories and materials. In the course of doing so, we'll bring in other objects, music, poetry, science and religion to show that creative cultures do not exist within a vacuumed space. Everything is a network that unravels itself as soon as we pull upon a thread, which is in this case, an object.
You can find bite-sized object lessons on our Instagram, where we'll be posting object lessons on a monthly basis. This space will document lengthier, pithier conversations that I hope will enrich our experience of the world around us, and our understanding of the many objects that populate our everyday lives.