Art and Textiles Trip
Year 10 GCSE Art and GCSE Textiles travel to London
Tuesday 13th was a lucky day for the 59 Year 10 GCSE Art and GCSE Textiles pupils and 6 members of staff who travelled by coach to London on 13 September 2022 to sample a selection of the capital’s best galleries and museums.
The logistics were complex as we were split into three groups to fit around staggered entry times. Art Teacher Mr Armshaw describes the trip from the perspective of his GCSE Art group:
Our group was dropped off in Kensington, at the same place as the Textiles group who went to the V&A. Our first stop was the Serpentine North Gallery where we saw ‘Back to Earth’, a group exhibition, in which artists from around the globe have responded to the climate emergency. Serpentine North is a converted gunpowder store in the middle of beautiful London parkland. It is a relatively small gallery adjoined by the incredible Magazine Café housed in a dynamic, tent-like structure by the late Zaha Hadid. As you can imagine, the detail in the design is of a very high standard. Just to be in a building of that quality was an awesome experience.
Our pupils engaged fully in the exhibition, which ranged from a video piece about the quashing of Australian aboriginal culture to a contemplative audio piece by Brian Eno in which we were invited to reflect on and connect with our relationship with the fragile earth. It was useful to see an exhibition which revolved around a single issue and to notice how different artists used a variety of materials and techniques to get their meaning across. Art, of course, is not all about pretty pictures.
The walk from there to Tate Britain was extraordinary. The security and preparations for Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state and funeral were ramping up and our route took us right into the heart of the area where people were gathering to lay floral tributes. We were able to witness a special moment in our nation’s history and although, initially, we worried it might hinder our visit, in the end, it made it all the more memorable. We walked through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace, up the Mall, through St. James’ Park, through Parliament Square, past Westminster and along the river.
We arrived at Tate Britain for our entry to the Cornelia Parker retrospective. Pupils were intrigued by the way Parker manipulated found objects, often bringing light to their innate strangeness, poetry or obscure historical significance, then presenting them in the gallery space with exquisite care. Her most well-known piece is called ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’ (1991) and features the restored contents of a garden shed exploded by the British Army at her request. The surviving pieces have been used by Parker to create an installation suspended from the ceiling as if held mid-explosion. Lit by a single lightbulb the fragments cast dramatic shadows on the gallery’s walls.
We also had a chance to take in a vibrant procession of cardboard and fabric figures by artist Hew Locke, as well as art from the superb permanent collection.
Our group was back on the coach around 4pm, travelling back to Kensington to collect the other two groups, and we were back at school around 7.30pm. Many thanks to all members of staff and our wonderful Year 10 pupils for making this such a successful day of ‘out of classroom’ learning.
Quotes from Mr Armshaw's class:
'I enjoyed the different materials used by different artists and I loved looking at how they then displayed the art. For example, the whole perimeter wall of the Serpentine was a massive wallpaper piece about ten dammed rivers. It brought you deeper into the atmosphere of the gallery.'
'The digital drawing pads in Tate Britain were great! They gave us a lot of freedom to make our own images, then they would appear in frames on the walls around us. I got a lot of praise for my artworks.'
'It was incredible for us to be in London as history unveils itself and for us to be a part of this remarkable moment.'
'I enjoyed the trip to London as visiting both galleries was quite enlightening, learning about how artists created their work. I especially liked the Turner section at Tate Britain as you were able to see his partially completed work.'
'I really enjoyed the Parker exhibition at Tate Britain as there were a lot of sculptures which took up the whole room, making the experience surround you. This helped us to interact with the art and see how it was made.'
Quotes from Miss Simpson's class:
'An artist that inspired me was Cornelia Parker because of the way she took everyday objects and turned them into weird and wacky creations.'
'I really enjoyed the London Art trip to the Tate because there was a variety of styles of art, from contemporary to the classical oil paintings, which I personally enjoyed more than the contemporary art.'
'I really enjoyed our art trip to London as it gave me an insight into sustainability and global warming in the Serpentine gallery. In the Tate I loved how Parker used many materials that she had found second hand.'
'I loved seeing the different buildings and landmarks. I found the different types of art in both galleries intriguing.'
'My favourite part of the day was the Cornelia Parker exhibit because of the range of different styles. I liked how she had a lot of different sizes and subjects, ranging from remembering the War through poppies to a collective piece of embroidery, but my favourite was the exploding shed as it was such an interesting piece and inspires you to think outside the box.'
'I was inspired by Cornelia Parker, because I liked how all of her work was different, not all in one style, and the rooms covered in offcuts from paper poppies or shadows cast by the sculptures were so surreal.'
'Cornelia Parker inspired me most. Her War Room was an amazing experience - it was amazing how she used scraps of poppy pins to make a sentimental piece of art.'
Textiles teacher Ms Cato writes: 'This September, it was a pleasure to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in London with a talented group of GCSE Textiles pupils. A wealth of objects were discovered in this inspirational building, from the enormous Dale Chihuly chandelier in the entrance foyer to Beyonce's diamond-encrusted butterfly ring in the jewellery gallery. Pupils made the most of this wonderful opportunity, discovering some truly fascinating artifacts from around the world, including a special exhibition on contemporary African fashion. A great day out was had by all!'