There was a darker side to the work as well, especially evident in the drawings pinned in a long display along the wall. Here the work was more reminiscent of Scandinavian folklore, perhaps referencing Hildegunn's native home and up bringing. There was one drawing that seemed to be 'Fanden the Fiend', a creature from Norwegian folklore usually depicted with horns and a goatee. There is another famous legend 'The Volsunga Saga' about a ring and it's destruction on any creature that carries it, perhaps where Tolkien got his inspiration for the 'Lord of the Rings', and there is a Gollum like creature in both the story and in these drawings.
But all of the above is based on my own reactions, interpretation and understandings of the work in the gallery and associating the assorted displays and installations with my own personal history. Contemporary art should make the viewer think, question, reflect, have a good laugh, or feel unsettled, that's what makes it strong art and not mere decoration. So though some of the passing public viewing the displays through the large gallery windows may have been quite perplexed with it all, I heard the odd comment from some questioning 'is that art', I found it all joyfully refreshing.
|Drawings and detail of installations in 'All Creatures Great and Small'|
by Hildegunn Gravdal
Hildegunn's statement for the exhibition said it was to be a "lighthearted comment on evolution, mutation, and hybridization". She is inspired by an interest in and love of natural history exhibits and collections and their obsession with naming and classification. This exhibition is homage to the early fossil hunters and scientists, their vivid imagination and irreverent disregard for creationism despite controversy. In all it was another good exhibition highlighting the diverse work done by artists from across the region, it's still on view through the windows till early January. Perhaps if your going into Bracknell town centre for the 'after Christmas sales' you should wander down to the end of Crossway, have a look and see what you think!