18 March – 12 May 2023
‘Pink, it’s my new obsession’, sang Aerosmith in the late 90s. My six-year-old daughter states that pink is her favourite colour several times a day. A true passion or a result of how the colour is gendered from early on? These questions are explored through the new exhibition In the Pink at Parlour (London), which connects the colour pink to its immediateness and the complexities around it. Paintings, sculptures, jewellery, and design objects come together in the intimate setting of the gallery, which is also the home of its founder. The objects are in dialogue with the domestic, creating references to each other and the space they are in.
The 2-metre sculpture by Candida Powell-Williams, Lacuna, 2021, is painted bright pink, with purples and oranges standing majestically at the entrance. It has a large knot in the middle, referencing architecturally knotted columns as well as the knots on friendship bracelets and love knots. Mythology, mysticism, and storytelling are themes often found in Powell-Williams’ work. These concepts counterbalance the mundane materiality of objects. The giant knot in Lacuna is a symbol of good fortune and love.
Soft pink brick tissue boxes are situated in front of this work. The hardness of the brick is counterpoised to the softness of the pink and plays with opposites of fragility and strength. On the opposite wall, Anna Skladmann’s Pink Honeysuckle in the Sky, 2023, is a photograph of an impossible bouquet made by using analogue scanning and enlarging techniques to assemble colours and images of flowers. Referencing the early history of photography, such as the works of Anna Aktins, who, in the 18th century, used a simple process of sunlight to create portraits of algae and plants.
The reference to plants is also in the sculptures of Alicia Radage. Their work on the myth of human supremacy highlights how difficult it can be to have a conversation about a more intuitive way of understanding the world. The tongues in the sculptures point to how certain dialogues need to break free.
Upstairs, the ceramic sculpture by Charlotte Colbert, Motherhood, recalls the softness of early skin-to-skin contact between mother and child. The multi-breasted ceramic sculpture reflects the time and energy required by motherhood.
Hannah Lim’s small sculptures illustrates the historical obsession with chinoiserie, the small objects that Europeans made directly by looking at Chinese objects. They often adapted forms and colours to the European market, creating different types of objects. This happened during the 18th-century, and interestingly, pink was adopted for these objects, although it was not used in 17th-century pink China. Made of jesomite and ceramics, Lim’s snuff bottles focus on decorative motifs, alluding to symbols and cultural meanings from non-western cultures.
In the back garden, a cherry tree in full blossom lends its candid pink to the exhibition – another pink tune for this upcoming spring.
Ilaria Puri Purini
Curator of National Programmes
43 Burghley Road, NW5
Opening Times: by appointment via email@example.com
Exhibition open until 12 May 2023