Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Taxidermy, tears, and powerful concoctions

Last Friday was the private view of A Curious Invitation at The Last Tuesday Society on Mare Street, Hackney. Why do I tell you this? Because one of my embroideries is in the exhibition!

Here is the blurb about the exhibition from The Last Tuesday Society's website:

"In celebration of Picador's publication of Suzette Field's first book, 'A Curious Invitation - The 40 Greatest Parties in Literature', the gallery will be given over to an exhibition that illustrates some of the greatest parties ever known.

Which famous fictional festivity was hosted by Satan? Which imaginary party was to be found hovering above an alien planet? At which event were attendees invited to chop onions and cry together? Which mythological merry-making never ended? At which masquerade were all the guests slaughtered? Which Queen was unable to gain access to her own ball? And at which party did the guests use cough syrup as a mixer?"

My piece was based on one of the chapters which appears in Suzette's book; The Onion Cellar, from G√ľnter Grass's novel The Tin Drum. In this chapter, nightclub patrons gather in a dingy cellar to chop onions and shed tears over their sad stories, all while a jazz band plays in the gloom. My onion skin-dyed handkerchief features a pair of bloodshot eyes crying over an onion, with the legend "The Onion Cutters' Club" stitched in an art nouveau font beneath.

As you might expect, the gallery itself is delightfully decadent, eccentric, and slightly seedy (celebrity poo of questionable authenticity is for sale!)

The interior is stuffed to the rafters with taxidermy and curios. Here I am  enjoying dinner table discussion with a truncated stuffed lion:

We rounded off the evening with a cup of a steaming, potent beverage which seemed to largely consist of gin. Not bad for my first "professional" exhibition!

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