SIMONE BREWSTER: THE SHAPE OF THINGS 29 June – 24 September 2023 NOW Gallery The Gateway Pavilions Peninsula Square Greenwich Peninsula London SE10 0SQ
NOW Gallery on London’s Greenwich Peninsula will presentits 2023 Design Commission, The Shape of Things, by one of the leading voices in contemporary design Simone Brewster. Open to the public between 29 June – 24 September,The Shape of Thingsis an exploration of the power of objects to communicate societal expectations of beauty, representation, and the talismanic qualities of objects that we use to empower ourselves. The exhibition explores the concept of “intimate architecture” the affect that texture and three dimensional form have on memory and emotion. The Shape of Things is an emotive display of objects that gain significant personal meaning from the tension and interaction between itself and its audience.
The exhibition presents a diverse range of works from furniture to painting, jewellery and sculpture that investigate the hidden linguistics behind design that are inherently entwined with societal norms and ideas of race, gender, equality and more. The Shape of Thingsencourages the viewers to reconsider their perception of everyday objects and the way we interact with them. Celebrating Brewster’s multidisciplinary approach to design and architecture, the boldly-coloured and geometric design envelops the viewers in an immersive display of colour and form. The viewers are also invited to use stamps designed by Brewster to create new designs inspired by her strong visual language.
As part of the African Diaspora, Brewster’s work marries Western and African visual languages, bridging the gap between these two histories, and the material shapes and forms that are imbued with cultural history and tradition. These dialogues of heritage, memory, race, gender, tradition and form are embodied in some of the key centrepieces of the exhibition. As a part of the display, Brewster will present a chaise lounge titled Negresswhich embodies a Modernist perspective on a deconstructed view of the Black female body, referencing and questioning the Primitivist and Cubist interpretation of the subject. The piece was acquired by the Smithsonian in 2022 and invites the viewer to re-examine their ways of interacting with the uncanny form of the chaise lounge.
In addition to this, Brewster will showcase a series of vessels, titled Tropical Noire, that reference the totemic statues and traditional Greek vessels, as well as Sub Saharan African sculpture and colonial artefacts. The collection clearly displays Brewster’s signature bold style of both ethnic and architectural elements which are also echoed across her paintings, drawings and jewellery showcased as a part of the exhibition.
Brewster will also present a series of brand new comb sculptures inspired by African hairstyles that are wearable and celebrate the designer’s heritage. The quietly political designs raise significant issues regarding race, gender and visibility in design and architecture spaces while celebrating Black British design and African heritage.
Brewster’s work has been exhibited at the British Embassy during the London 2012 Olympic Games as an example of British Design Talent, The Royal College of Art 175 Year Anniversary Exhibition, Collect at the Saatchi Gallery, amongst many other domestic and international exhibitions.
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