Stand on ceremony

By Pamela Buxton

Couples getting married at gallery-cum-wedding venue the Pump House Gallery are probably too busy gazing into the eyes of their beloved to take much notice of what’s around them. This may be just as well, since Ceremony, the gallery’s latest exhibition, is a provocative and sometimes rather dark look at the role handcrafted objects play in the performance of rituals, such as marriage, death and christenings. Take Serena Korda’s Love, Honour & Obey. Part bridal gown, part bedding and part saddle, this quilted, vintage ivory silk creation is a comment on the nature of marriage and demonstrates what can only be described, says curator Sandra Ross, as vaginal connotations. Also challenging is Laura Potter’s gold wedding ‘banned’, a ring with a metal bar across to stop it being worn. Freddie Robins’ pretty christening shawl appears unremarkable until you notice the ‘Life Sucks’ message within the pattern. Ceremony does not shirk from death – particularly engrossing is Rosamarinus Officinalis, a video by Tim Davies, which documents the construction of a funeral wreath that is beautifully lit to resemble a Dutch still life. Conceptual craft pieces are combined with demonstrations of cake making and floristry that entertain – but also challenge – preconceptions of what is art. And in an impressive commitment to the show theme, co-curator Freddie Robins is herself planning a wedding in the gallery, surrounded by the sometimes dark – but never dull – content of her exhibition.Ceremony, 17 August – 9 October, Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London SW11. Tel: 020 7350 0523

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