Encounters at The V&A London

From: Rat
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 07 December 2004



Ended this weekend. About colonists meeting indians and chinese and japanese. Big crowds made it hard to see the spot lit objects in the black cases in the dark rooms with the tinkly music playing. Best things were hybrids: a madonna and child with oriental features, drawings of rubber featured dutchmen on scrolls, overdecorated objects for western collectors, and not in the mix category, a vase which was the first chinese porcelain owned by a European (the king of hungary). These things gave you a hint of the thrill it must have been to meet new peoples for the first time, now we would need to meet Martians to get the same kick. (excitement might have worn off when you realised thse funny people were ready to kill and plunder your civilisation).

The wall texts seem to be trying very hard to balance the normal Western subject-object relationship with the East, which is a worthwhile effort, but occasionally strayed into a formula that all things non-European are good, all Europeans evil oppressors, which is probably true.