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Somewhere you should go… What Is Luxury? at the V&A

Diamonds and pearls may be timeless symbols of a luxurious lifestyle, but this new Craft Council collaboration aims to show there’s more to luxury than you think. With over  100  objects included, like the 1760 Portuguese crown that blings with gold, rubies, emeralds and diamonds, there’s the obvious references to “Pleasure”, “Non-Essential” and “Opulence” with the appropriate items to match. But where the show gets interesting is when it makes a more somber statement, considering the luxury of “time”, “memory” and “resource” to be just as valid. Even “Privacy” (or the loss of it) gets a mention: one particular installation by TED Fellow Gabe Barcia-Columbio speculates about a future where personal data is so freely accessible, it can be bought from a vending machine.

There’s plenty of commentary made about a concept that’s become increasingly relevant  as the 21st century rolls on – and the few artists who take it to task do it brilliantly. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be said about the eye-candy that features like Giovanni Corvajagold fleece cap or the Swarovski crystal-covered monkey by Studio Job, which are both extraordinary and impressive – but this exhibition earns it kudos by being fearless in facing certain truths about this day and age. On this occasion, leaving with more questions than answers is a very good thing.

On until 27th September. For more information visit  the V&A website. 

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2 comments

  • This is a great exhibition. The intricate detailed objects are fascinating, they provide stories from the past and explain the unique ways in which they were produced. As you move through the show the more current issues around ‘what is luxury’ draw you in and make you think. It is definitely a show which leaves you assessing your own lifestyle and asking yourself lots of personal questions about your own priorities when it comes to life’s luxuries.

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