The Esque Collection

Mixed media. Sizes vary, 15 x 15 x 20ht cm - 35 x 35 x 80ht cm. The Dean's Chapel, Worcester Cathedral. 2019.

Previously shown as part of SINOPTICON at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery UK 2012, and Couriers of Taste: Contemporary artists explore consumerism and trade, at Danson House, London UK 2013.

Commissioned by Lucy Day and Eliza Gluckman in 2012 for Sinoption {Plymouth}, Funded by Arts Council England and Trust New Art

'The Esque Collection' explores the idea of Chinoiserie. Laura White is interested in Chinoiserie decorative objects of display, such as pre 19th century ceramics, porcelain and furniture. Thinking about what Chinoiserie might mean now both in China and the UK, she has been exploring the relationship and trade of crafted and manufactured objects between China and Europe, and the idea that Chinoiserie historically was described as something that was authored in the west and yet represented China, where cultural misunderstanding was translated into the production of decorative objects and other decorative material. It is this sense of misunderstanding and misrepresentation through cross-cultural fertilization that produces extraordinary objects all over the world, such as replica plastic Chinoiserie tea sets sold in Turkish bricolage shops in east London, to replica miniature Gucci handbags sold in Shenzhen, China.

Taking the form of a collection, her Chinoiserie objects, pull from a wealth of readymades - cheap plastic imports from China, European Chinoiserie and global reproduced souvenirs to create sculptural/ornamental centre pieces, each displayed on their own podium. Their identities are in crisis, but each are bound by an intuitive formal logic and configuration.

In siting 'The Esque Collection' at Worcester Cathedral opens up new dialogues around these works, the multi-coloured low fi sculptures set off against a back drop of sophisticated stain glass windows and ecclesiastical architecture raises questions of value, both in terms of materiality and context, while also finding common ground, such as making comparisons to other objects located in the cathedral (religious artifacts), that also reflect cross-cultural histories and ambitiously project and imagine themselves beyond their material make up.

Exhibition organised by Meadow Arts

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