London Diaries Part 4 - Design Museum and Whitechapel Gallery

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum

is a delightful exhibition about Paul Smith's career, his inspirations and how he works. It includes a recreation of his first shop in Nottingham and his current office space.

Told in his own words, you leave with a sense that Paul Smith is a very down to earth man, someone you want to be friends with. I know he's someone I'd definitely like to hang out with. If you don't believe me,

read this article from The Guardian, What I learned from the Paul Smith exhibition


Besides the fashion aspect, we learn that Paul Smith is an avid photographer (would love to see an exhibition dedicated to his photography) and is a collector or art, images, objects (made me feel good about my hoarding habit). 

Step into the world of fashion designer Paul Smith, a world of creation, inspiration, collaboration, wit and beauty.

Celebrating his career to date and exploring future developments, the exhibition references Paul Smith’s influences and fashion designs, charting the rise of this quintessentially British label which has become one of the leading fashion brands in the world.

Looking at the impressive scale of its global operation today, the exhibition draws on Paul Smith’s personal archive, from the company’s beginnings in Nottingham to its international prominence today. The exhibition explores how Paul Smith’s intuitive take on design, together with an understanding of the roles of designer and retailer, have laid the foundations for the company’s lasting success and offer a unique insight into the magnificent mind of Paul Smith.

Here are some photos I took. 

Watch this video with fashion writer Penny Martin who walk through the exhibition. 

I also strongly recommend you watch this video of Paul Smith talking about his career. Love the part where he complains about the egos in the fashion industry.  

Hannah Höch at Whitechapel Gallery

After my many visits to London, I finally got a chance to visit Whitechapel Gallery. The Hannah Höch exhibition is the main show there, it's quite an extensive show spanning six decades. I didn't know about Hannah Höch before this exhibition and quite looking and learning about her medium and how she explored her work.  

Hannah Höch was an artistic and cultural pioneer. A member of Berlin’s Dada movement in the 1920s, she was a driving force in the development of 20th century collage. Splicing together images taken from fashion magazines and illustrated journals, she created a humorous and moving commentary on society during a time of tremendous social change. Höch was admired by contemporaries such as George Grosz, Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters, yet was often overlooked by traditional art history. As the first major exhibition of her work in Britain, the show puts this inspiring figure in the spotlight.

Bringing together over 100 works from major international collections, the exhibition examines Höch’s extraordinary career from the 1910s to the 1970s. Starting with early works influenced by her time working in the fashion industry, it includes key photomontages such as High Finance (1923) which critiques the relationship between bankers and the army at the height of the economic crisis in Europe.

A determined believer in artistic freedom, Höch questioned conventional concepts of relationships, beauty and the making of art. Höch’s collages explore the concept of the ‘New Woman’ in Germany following World War I and capture the style of the 1920s avant-garde theatre. The important series ‘From an Ethnographic Museum’ combines images of female bodies with traditional masks and objects, questioning traditional gender and racial stereotypes.

Astute and funny, this exhibition reveals how Höch established collage as a key medium for satire whilst being a master of its poetic beauty.

There was no photography allowed at this exhibition. But here's a video that is a good introduction to Hannah Höch by Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies, Daniel F. Herrmann.