Saturday, September 22, 2012

Some Textiles@The Powerhouse Museum

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The power station in Ultimo (Sydney, Australia) generated electricity for Sydney’s tramways, the latter of which were largely erased from the city in the 1950s and finally closed in 1961. The site was in operation since 1879.

The power station site consisted of a group of rugged and massive buildings, such as the boiler room, turbine house and the switch house. On the 23rd August 1978, the Premier of New South Wales - Neville Wran - announced that the re-developed power station site would be the new home for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences whose roots date back to 1882. The Museum was renamed "The Powerhouse Museum". The New South Wales government architect, Lionel Glendenning, was charged with designing the redeveloped site.

Powerhouse Museum - Created Around the Shell Of An Old Power Station.

Front Entrance.

The collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences was a hundred years old when it became the museum’s collection. It is eclectic in scope, documenting the social historical development of a society derivative in “custom” from Europe, framed by an indigenous heritage and located at the cusp of Asia.

The collection contains a vast array of artefacts from musical instruments, textiles, jewellery, dress, metalwork, numismatics, philately, plastics, ceramics, glass, furniture to steam locomotives, solar-powered cars, microchips, aeroplanes, hang-gliders, space hardware, biotechnology, medical technology, domestic appliances, pictorial material, industrial and community and juvenilia objects. The earliest artefact dates from ca. 2000 B.C., while the most recent are contemporary in nature. There is a strong focus on Australian made and provenanced material, without this focus compromising the collection’s overall international integrity.

Aeroplanes@Powerhouse Museum.

The focus of today’s post is on textiles and there is no better compilation than – “Decorative Arts And Design From The Powerhouse Museum”, Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney (1991).

Some Textiles @ The Powerhouse Museum
The lack of special curatorial guidance in the field of applied and decorative arts and design prior to 1929 clearly hampered its early collection of artefacts in this area. Hence there is little in the collection prior to that period. What was collected was conservative work, notably English in origin, with little collected prior to that time reflecting or documenting the Australian arts and craft community at that time.

Since the 1990s the development of the museum’s collection was guided by a single objective, namely: “The communication of an understanding and appreciation of the ways in which Australians design, fabricate, exchange, use and assign meaning to artefacts to provide for their economic, physical, cultural and social needs; based upon the nature, social context, history and future science, technology, industry, design, and decorative arts”.

Australian Tapestry, Woven in France (1960).
Designer: Jean Lurcat (1992-1965).
Weavers: Suzanne Coubely-Gatien, Aubusson, France.
Materials: Wool and Cotton.
Size: 687.5 (width) x 348 cm (height).

Textile Length.
Maker: Unknown. Origin may be Venetian ca. 1730. Chinoiseries design, inspired by imports of printed and painted textiles from the East.
Technique: Block-printed and painted silk.
Size: 44 cm (width) x 484 cm (height).

Point de France needle Lace Flounce (detail). France ca. 1700-1725
Maker: Unknown.
Material: Linen. Pattern repeat 27 cm.
Size: 327 cm (width) x 22 cm (height).

Quince Pattern Silk Brocade (detailed).
Maker: Jean Revel (1684-1751). Woven in Lyon, France ca. 1734.
Material: Twill-weave brocade on satin-weave ground.
Size: 54 cm (width) x 124 cm (height).

Palampore (Bed Curtain).
Maker: Palakollu, Andhra Pradesh, India (1750-1800).
Technique: Painted and dyed cotton.
Size: 218 cm (width) x 282 cm (height).

L’Offrande A L’Amour (Offering to Love).
Designer: Jean-Baptiste Huet (1745-1811).
Maker: Christoff-Philipp Oberkampf’s factory, Jouy (France).
Technique: Copperplate printed cotton, lined and quilted using madder pink dye.
Size: 65 cm (width) x 78 cm (height).

Portiere (Carpet).
Maker: Templeton & Co., Glasgow, Scotland ca. 1880.
Materials: Wool and silk.
Size: 183 cm (width) x 300 cm (height).

Medallion Quilt.
Maker: Mrs. G. Brown ca. 1895.
Materials: Cotton, patchwork.
Size: 198 cm (width) x 227 cm (height).

Red Flowering Gum - Fabric Length (Detail).
Designer: Olive Nock (1893-1977).
Maker: Printed by Liberty & Co (England) 1928.
Material: Silk.
Size: 79.7 cm (width) x 68.4 cm (height).

Myths and Legends (Furnishing Fabric).
Designer: Jean Bellette (1909-1991).
Maker: Alcorso Brothers of Silk and Textile Printers, Australia, ca. 1947.
Technique: Screen printed on cotton.
Size: 91.5 cm (width) x 488 cm (height).

Seapiece (Furnishing Fabric).
Designer and Maker: Frances Bourke, Melbourne, 1951.
Technique: Screen printing on cotton.
Size: 122 cm (width) x 180 cm (height).

Rock Carving (Furnishing Fabric).
Designer: Alexandra (Nan) Mackenzie.
Makers: Nan McKenzie and Anne Outlaw, Sydney, 1945.
Technique: Screen printing on cotton.
Size: 119 cm (width) x 87 cm (height).

Nimbus (Wall Hanging).
Artist: Mona Hessing, Australia, 1969.
Technique: Wool, jute, synthetic yarns, hand dyed with synthetic dyes.
Size: 188 cm (width) x 360 cm (height).

Untitled (ArtCloth).
Artist Nyukana Barker, Ernabella Arts, ca. 1986.
Technique: Silk batik.
Size: 92 cm (width) x 122 cm (height).

Untitled (ArtCloth).
Artist: Lilly Sandover Kngwarreye, Utopia, 1986.
Technique: Silk batik.
Size: 118 cm (width) x 186 cm (height).

Pukumani Poles.
Artists: Harold Porkalari and Danny Munkara, Bathurst Island, ca. 1986.
Technique: Screen printed on cotton.
Size: 150 cm (width) x 800 cm (height).

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