Ten’s To See: ‘Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi’ at Somerset House
‘Mushrooms’ by Seana Gavin
Forget about kale, there’s a new hot produce on the block – and this time, we’re looking beyond the local Sainsbury’s. We’ve had mushrooms on our mind since they stomped down the Charles Jeffrey Loverboy runway this season, decorating a showstopper two piece and matching tote combo… And we weren’t the only ones taking notes. Writer and curator Francesca Gavin began researching the world of fungi after noticing the motif cropping up left, right and centre, which led her to her latest exhibition – Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi. Opening tomorrow at Somerset House, the upcoming show explores the powerful position of the organism in contemporary culture, from the arts to the environment, and of course the psychedelic.
“There seemed to be so much to mushrooms beyond something you ate”, explained Gavin, “they touched on ideas around economics, science, technology, climate, and the psychedelic.” The interdisciplinary nature of the show leaves no shroom unturned, with contributions from 35 artists, designers and musicians spanning across three themed rooms, transformed by award-winning design agency Pentagram. Beginning with an exploration into the rich history of mushrooms, the curator’s continuous research into psychedelia continues with a section aptly named Magic Mushrooms, taking you on a spectacular trip sans illegal substances. Finishing with a look to the future, the exhibition promises to have us reimagining our relationship with the environment, all with the help of fabulous fungi.
‘Mycoschoen’ by Kristel Peters
If you thought the organism was merely a great topping to your avocado toast, this exhibition will surely prove you wrong. Hand-cut collages by artist Seana Gavin will transport you to an intergalactic world of the fantastic, future and quite frankly fabulous. An intricate handmade textile piece from Australian label Perks & Mini (or P.A.M. to its cult streetwear following) hangs from a wall, bringing the shroom motif to the mainstream. In a more literal interpretation, the show’s final room explores future possibilities of mycelium fabrics within design – showcasing shoes, furniture and one remarkable decomposable suit.
‘Frog Life’ by Perks & Mini
While attempting to absorb the endless possibilities of the organism, you’re engulfed in the mesmerising beauty of the mushroom. Intricate watercolours by Beatrix Potter provoke a nostalgic memory of childhood fairy tales and magical woodlands. Meanwhile, any fans of Rimowa’s latest collab with Dior must pay a visit to the kinetic sculpture of spinning mushrooms, seated within a Rimowa suitcase customised by Carsten Holler. The exhibition even features a contribution from renowned artist Takashi Murakami, leaving us thirsty for one of his LV monograms splashed with kawaii mushroom motifs. Made from mushroom leather, perhaps? One can only dream…
Enveloping sculpture, paintings, photography, film, even a life-sized installation, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds at Somerset House. Whether your sporting mushroom prints, stepping out in a pair of mycelium mules or tucking into your lunchtime fave (Eat’s Mushroom Melt is a firm Ten Towers favourite) – mushrooms are the material of the future. Sample the mushies of Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi for a truly outer-body experience.
‘Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi’ is open at Somerset House until 26th April 2020.
‘Mindful Mushroom’ by Seana Gavin