Sunday was drab. It was the end of the holidays and the eve of work. What better way to lift the spirits than to catch ‘Late Turner – Painting Set Free’ at Tate Britain? We saw his visionary last works on the last day of the exhibition and joined other latecomers happy to bask in his glorious light. As usual I lost my youngest who did his hurried gallery habit of finishing in five minutes flat and returning to declare that he’d done it. And yes, he did fill in one of those postcards about visitor enjoyment – his words ‘ I don’t know why I am here’ signed Theo Machin-Paley, aged 11 years.
Well, I knew why I was here. I love the work of Turner and I especially like what Queen Victoria loathed – his creative visions of light and colour, his unfinished formless paintings, his ‘on the wing’ watercolours. I am not so keen on the history themes which carry a traditional freight of myth, but these hieroglyphs which explore sates of consciousness, optics, the power of paint are truly innovative.
Another reason to be cheerful is that I am now working with FRONT London and the innovative designs of award-winning Jan Kath. His techniques verge on the visionary. Inspired by the vivid colours in images taken from the Hubble space telescope, Kath has created a rug series that replicates high-resolution photographs of space. It has taken 15 years working with a small group of specialist weavers in Kathmandu who possess the necessary technical ability to realise his vision.
To interpret the pixels in the digital photograph, every knot has been added by hand. In each design there are more than 150-200 knots per square inch to ensure the longevity of each rug. For Space 7, Kath has woven 80 yarns of both silk and wool – which are hand-knotted changing yarns pixel by pixel - a great technical achievement and a first in this industry for rug design. The result is photo realistic and quality of this kind has never been achieved on the market.
Jan Kath’s carpet creations challenge convention and like all the greats, are at times controversial.