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Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Whitechapel Gallery: Gert and Uwe Tobias; Karl Blossfeldt

The Whitechapel Gallery is a favourite of mine. In part this is due to its proximity to Brick Lane and the beigel shop. The home of ironically dressing like your grandfather was more hip replacement than hipster, with noticeable tourist and yummy mummy contingents (reverse snobbery over, although tourist is quite frankly the dirtiest word in the entirety of the English language).

Enticed there on an awful overcast English spring day was I by Gert and Uwe Tobias. I was not especially bothered by the majority of the exhibition, but the three large paintings towards the end of the exhibit and currently being sold as the accompanying postcards I did enjoy. Their practise described in the press release as "working across different artistic traditions, the artists dissolve boundaries between craft and fine art, abstract concept and unconscious fantasy, and modernity and tradition", was rather like William Morris on a trip. I did in fact buy one of the postcards to send to my textile designing cousin.

Continuing with botany as a theme the Karl Blossfeldt photography exhibition made a much greater impression on me as whole than the Tobiases did. Something in the shape of the forms he captured affected me in an almost ineffable way.

What I will also say about The Whitechapel is that it has a ruddy good bookshop. I normally have to be frogmarched past them in other institutions but this time I was both on my own and at leisure so had a long time to peruse its shelves. Following my awful foray in the pretences of hipsterdom earlier in this post, I noted So You Think You're a Hipster in the shop. Tempted to buy it, yes I was. Fearfully of finding myself described inside its pages, inevitable.

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