March 10, 2013

It's all in the details

Today I visited four exhibitions. In the StadsGalerij Breda they are making a sandmandala for the Tibet Art Expo. On sunday they going to dance it away. I made some pictures today and hope to visit it more times this week, so soon a photo-report on my blog!
In the Breda's Museum three textiel-exhibitions started this weekend. I missed the opening, but I heard it was really busy, so today I could take my time for every object. I only post some sneak previews of it later on my blog this week, because you really have to see it for yourself!

In the hall of the Breda's Museum I stumbled on this Chinese wallpaper. I had already seen it in december, but I didn't had my camera with me. I liked it very much then, and love it even more now.
It's all in the details; a sandmandala, Johanna Schweizers crocheted creatures, Miek Vlamings sculptures of felt and paper, the art quilts, that turned out to be really arty instead of quilty, and this chinese wallpaper.
It's like a puzzle with hidden stories. And so much detail especially in the faces, hair and clothing. I didn't see it that clear the first time, maybe after seeing all those lovely details in the other artworks, I noticed them better in the wallpaper.

This 18 century Chinese wallpaper is from a house in Breda. When they demolish the building in 1961 the Breda's Museum preserved the wallpaper. In 1993 the wallpaper was restored.
Chinese wallpaper was really popular in the 18 century in the Netherlands. Many homes of wealthy people were decorated with it. Because it was an interior trend, many trends followed after it. Today only three rooms are left with this kind of traditional 18 century Chinese wallpaper.
The trend of Chinese decoration in the house started around 1725. The VOC brought tea, silk and porcelain* to our harbors. Just like the porcelain, orders were placed for wallpaper. The style was adapted to please the customers. It had to be typical Chinese, but through the eyes of a foreigner. So hand fans, paper umbrella's, small trees (bonsai) and screens are well represented on products made for the Dutch.
In this particular example you almost find them all. The edging are filled with a bamboo labyrinth-pattern. A horizon is added which in traditional Chinese art isn't custom. It was probably added in Breda. Chinese wallpaper was shipped in sheets to Europe, there they put them together. They kind of made there own story of the loose fragments. So this makes it even more an interpretation of what we thought China was.

If you are in the Breda's Museum to visit the textiel-exhibitions (!), also enjoy the wallpaper. Find the man who is walking this dog and where is the lady pointing at?

* For more about Chinese porcelain, see blogpost 'A quest in Delft part II'

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