Our last review of an exhibition at Orleans House Gallery was back in May when we had Private Passions for Public Pleasures to contend with. It wasn’t a great title for a show. Despite that, the exhibition itself was worth a visit but could perhaps be best described as “quirky and interesting” more than anything else. The twickerati review of it is here. So it was with a little trepidation that we ventured down to Orleans House to take a look at Making it / Faking, the current show but we needn’t have worried. It features work from contemporary artists who have taken existing, well-known works of art and used them as inspiration for new pieces either by re-creating them with some kind of twist on the original idea or using the original as a springboard for producing something very different. According to the OHG blurb the show features works which question the notion of originality and authenticity. Here at twickerati we generally like to have a little dig at things just for the hell of it… but not in this case. The show is well put together, contains a lot of interesting pieces, a good deal of humour and is also very accessible thanks to the familiarity of many of the original works being referenced.
Like Van Gogh’s sunflowers? See them reproduced in pieces of Lego and other bits of brightly coloured plastic. Wish you could paint like Manet? You can now with this painting by numbers version of his Dejeuner sur l’Herbe. There’s also 18th Century portraiture where the heads of the human subjects have been replaced by those of animals: a wolf, a deer, a sheep. Is it something from a dream or are the true characters of the family group being revealed to us? Elsewhere, Cezanne’s card players, all studied intensity (and currently being used to promote an exhibition of his work at the Courtauld Gallery) are here just relaxing with a friendly game of Happy Families. (Perhaps a single “card player” Tweeting on his iPhone should be the next iteration of this?)
There’s a large piece featuring a series of portraits of Edouard Manet’s favoured muse. The portraits are not identical and some use different media but the repetition used in the work bridges the gap between 19th century France and the 1960s New York of Andy Warhol. There’s even the obligatory video installation for those who like their art modern. Perhaps inevitably there are also renditions of The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, but let’s be honest they’re exactly the sort of pieces that lend themselves to the reworking treatment and are the kind of thing that make Making It / Faking It such an interesting and accessible exhibition.
Making it / Faking it runs until 23rd January 2011 at Orleans House Gallery. Details here.