Peacock Among the Ruins (3 stars)

DCA, Dundee, until Sun 24 Jun

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INTERIOR DESIGN

DCA hosts Peacocks Among the Ruins, co-curated by Glasgow-based designers Timorous Beasties as part of the Six Cities design festival. The exhibition brings together a rich selection of contemporary design with antiquated textile pieces, many of which relate to Timorous Beasties’ work and their display at the entrance of the exhibition. The predominant theme of the show is nature in design, a common one in the textiles industry.

Juxtaposing new and old, the exhibition highlights the difference between designs and designers, hanging William Morris’ arts and crafts wallpaper with Christopher Pearson’s digital wallpaper, thus emphasising not only differences in materials but also contrasting modes of production. These comparisons are bridged in part by digital reproduction Sanderson print lampshades that lead you into the main exhibition space, thus directly linking two periods.

The quirky, sometimes gimmicky contemporary designs, like ‘Horse Lamp’, a life-sized polyester horse with a lamp coming out of its head, and Michael Sans’ ‘Cuckoo Clock’, a stuffed bird with an LED clock across its chest, appear as totems to a sense of humour. Nevertheless, they sit well with the other displays, which dabble in kitsch iconography while riding the crest of the wallpaper wave.

Timorous Beasties’ curated selection of works explores the varied approaches to interior design, while keeping their anchor firmly hooked into tradition. This exhibition provides an interesting contrast to DCA’s regular exhibition program. While the show is very much about ‘product’, it manages to separate itself from the showroom to stand firm in the exhibition space.

(Steven Cairns)

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