Monday, 10 February 2014

Gold, glitter, textiles, and - of course - books.

Ages ago (or at least what feels like ages), I posted about there being an exhibition about fabulous replicated textiles being shown in Dresden: Parade Textiles for August the Strong.

Special exhibitions somewhere off across the country are a tricky beast, if you ask me. You have to find out about them, and then you have to find a time and a way to get there. And until you've done that and been there, unless you happen across somebody else who already has and whom you can ask, you will not know whether it's worth the effort or not.

I've both traveled to a special exhibition to be totally exhilarated and in love with the thing, coming out of the door after hours and hours of monument-al pleasure, and traveled to a special exhibition that I would have regretted the time and effort put in had it been in the neighbouring town with 15 mins travel time, let alone three hours in the car. Single trip three hours, of course.

I also learned, over the years, that a Spec Ex will not necessarily be large - they can, in fact, be tiny. Which may be a good thing, or a bad one, or neutral, depending on a multitude of things.

Long story short - the most patient of all husbands joined me in travelling to Dresden over the weekend, to see the special exhibition, while the best of all neighbours kindly took care of the cat. (She has lots of personnel, you see.) We had opted for the train, since it's about the same time to spend in car or train, and with the costs our car is running, train was actually cheaper (plus gives you more reading, sleeping, and knitting time.) The special exhibition is one of the very small ones, which I had sort of half-expected, but the textiles shown are really, really beautiful. I would have liked some more in-depth info about the manufacture of the replicas, including more video of how they were made, and some inkling about the costs involved in having them replicated, but that was sadly lacking. The texts accompanying the textiles, both the old and the new ones, were also too technical to let non-textile geeks understand what was meant; an explanation of how velvet is woven, for example, would surely have heightened the appreciation of many of the visitors. I'd also have appreciated some close-up photographs together with the textiles shown, so that you could see the bindings a bit easier. The textiles are not all fully replicated yet, and we were dubious about the colours used in one of the hangings, but I found all the others truly spectacular; lots of gold and silk and a nice deep dark blue and nice shades of red.

After the room with the textiles, we went to look at some of the other exhibits. The museum is quite, quite large (even if you don't book the Historical Green Vault with your ticket), and it's chock-full of those baroque splendour thingies where small items are embellished with even smaller designs, and lots of bling added around it, and precious materials are turned into breathtaking things. Sunglasses, at some places, would be a good idea to dampen down some of the splendour.

And after our museum tour, we did what all good archaeologists do - we visited the museum (book) shop, which was a mixture of a museum shop with the necessary souvenirs, trinkets and postcards; a bookshop; and what Germans call "Modernes Antiquariat" where you can buy older books that have gone out of print for a reduced price.

Now, your typical archaeologist has a thing for buying books (ask our friends who helped us move!) and I am no exception. Especially exhibition catalogues - experience says that if you don't buy them when you can, you may not get the chance again. So we went home with... some more books.

In case you are interested in seeing the exhibition about the splendid textiles, it will still run until February 24. It's a small room with about one dozen pieces, part of those originals and part reconstructions, and being a textile geek will help you appreciate what is meant by "velvet, cut" and "or frisé". If you are a textile geek, though, you might really love it.

No comments: