Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Stuff That Matters * Textiles Collected by Seth Siegelaub * 1 March- 6 May 2012 * London

Raven Row presents the first exhibition of the collection of historic textiles assembled by Seth Siegelaub over the past thirty years for the Center for Social Research on Old Textiles (CSROT). The exhibition will feature over 200 items from a collection currently comprising around 650. It will include woven and printed textiles, embroideries and costume, ranging from fifth-century Coptic to Pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles, late medieval Asian and Islamic textiles, and Renaissance to eighteenth-century European silks and velvets. Barkcloth (tapa) and headdresses from the Pacific region (especially Papua New Guinea) and Africa will also be on display.

Textiles in the exhibition will be shown next to excerpts from relevant texts and historic books drawn from the CSROT Library, which shed light on their technological, social and political context and stress how Siegelaub’s bibliographic project underpins the collection of textiles. The history of the buildings housing Raven Row, which in the eighteenth century accommodated two shops selling silk woven in the Spitalfields district, will be addressed in one of the galleries. Decrees and laws shown alongside a selection of banned European silks from the era will reveal how the end of a sixty-year embargo on foreign-spun silks in 1824 led to the collapse of the Spitalfields silk industry.

The exhibition is curated by Sara Martinetti, Alice Motard and Alex Sainsbury, and is designed by 6a architects. The accompanying publication will contain a survey of the rise and fall of the silk industry in Spitalfields, an interview with Seth Siegelaub and an essay on his bibliographic practice as well as a chronology retracing his manifold activities.

The exhibition is at Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS and is open Wed - Sat 11am - 6pm. For more details contact:
T +44 (0)20 7377 4300

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