V&A new exhibition: What is Luxury?

The upcoming V&A exhibition, what is luxury? is the third collaboration of V&A and Crafts Council projects, following Out of the Ordinary in 2007 and The Power of Making in 2011.

Divulging into interpretation and the intrinsic value of objects, the exhibition poses the question of how luxury is defined. Through expense or craftsmanship, what is luxury? aims to explore the meaning and motives behind key pieces and examine the historical and cultural significance of specific art.

The subdivisions within the luxury section provide debate on definition, with George Daniels’ handcrafted Space Travellers’ Watch, a mechanical masterpiece juxtaposed against more traditional versions of luxury, such as a golden engraved pendant. Using contemporary design to convey a post modern display, the exhibition will showcase pieces from fashion designer Iris van Herpen’s laser cut-out dress, to electronic art in the form of an LED light chandelier from Studio Drift- portraying a futuristic version of luxury.

Playing on the theme itself, the exhibition will explore the notion of time and the opportunities that arise from excess wealth, transitioning away from physical objects and projecting metaphors that encourage the viewer to contemplate the meaning of luxury. Including installation, The Boltham Legacy by artist Henrik Nieratschker, which depicts the fictitious tale of a billionaire searching for resources in space.

Co-curator, Jana Scholze says, “the exhibition questions the very idea of luxury today. It will challenge common interpretations of luxury, invite close examination of luxury production and extend ideas of what luxury can be. Essentially, the question of luxury is a personal one.”


luxury_future© Studio Drift, FF3 CC, Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

by Emma Walsh

What is Luxury? A V&A and Crafts Council Exhibition. Sponsored by Northacre
runs from  April 25 – 27 September 27, 2015