Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Madeline Preston investigates the Willow Pattern...

re-invent 007



Madeleine Preston lives in NSW and is currently lectures in art and design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design.

Madeleine talks about her work for the exhibition:

"The works for Re-invent, Re-interpret, Re-make, have at their heart an image that is itself a re-interpretation of Chinese sensibility and ceramic styling - that of the willow pattern plate.

According to the V&A website, 'The legend of the Willow Pattern was invented by the English about 200 years ago to promote pottery sales." Many Australians have grown up with this pattern on dinner plates and mugs believing the story to be an ancient Chinese one. Being born in Australia of English parents and spending my childhood in China I was attracted to elements of the 'ancient' story and to the idea of re-inventing what was already a fabrication.

The demand for the authentic and the need for narrative are great drivers in promotion for any period of history perhaps none more than now. I chose to change the nature of the material representation to another now 'ancient' circular form, that of a record. By taking an image that is misunderstood and misread and re-contextualising the materiality of its representation I hope to re-invent an image that is neither eastern nor western but an imaginary east at the point where commerce and storytelling meet.

I wanted to locate the materials of my re-imagining in the list of wedding anniversary symbols; paper for one year, cotton for two, wood for five, tin for ten and gold for fifty. The willow image is contained within the circular form of an LP/single and only part of the story is shown. There is no function for these products as their functionality has been removed or obscured through their re-invention. In each remade and remodelled patter the image of the 'prison' and the doves is repeated."

These works are absolutely beautiful and the photographs don't capture the intricate detail of the patterns applied onto the vinyl records. They really are works that you need to see in the flesh!

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