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Waddesdon Manor opens exhibition of works by Michael Eden
Michael Eden, Icons-(details), 2018. Unique object made by Additive Layer. Manufacturing from a high quality nylon material with a soft mineral coating. © Michael Eden. Image courtesy of Adrian Sassoon, London.

WADDESTON.- Michael Eden‘s work sits at the intersection of craft, design and art. For this solo exhibition at Waddesdon, Eden, formerly a potter, explores contemporary themes through the reinterpretation of historical objects using digital manufacturing.

In his most ambitious exhibition to date, Eden has created a collection of new pieces responding to objects from Waddesdon’s collections, bringing their stories into the 21st century and displaying them in a theatrical setting. The pieces are unique works of decorative art, the result of technical innovation combined with extraordinary levels of skill using techniques he explored during his MPhil at the Royal College of Art (2006-2008). Eden has pushed the revolutionary tools and materials of digital technology to their extremes. He has produced complex and thought-provoking works while staying true to his artistic intention that each piece should be a unique object. He describes how he has appropriated digital manufacturing processes: ‘Three-dimensional printing has given me the freedom to create works of art impossible with the wheel and clay’.

As artist in residence, Eden’s exhibition is part of the ‘Contemporary at Waddesdon’ programme. He describes his first visit as, ‘an awe-inspiring experience, every room is a stage set of magnificent furniture, ceramics, textiles and paintings. Each has a story to tell.’

He was particularly fascinated to discover the rigorous regime introduced by Alice de Rothschild to protect the collection, known as ‘Miss Alice’s rules’, which included strict light management and the winter covering of sculpture and furniture. Eden interpreted this seasonal process as a mysterious staged performance, where the players were frozen in time, preserved during the winter months awaiting the grand unveiling of spring. Form & Transform sees Eden’s new work presented on pieces of furniture from the Manor’s stores, wrapped in cotton covers, creating a theatrically lit setting.

The exhibition moves through five ‘rooms’, each based on a distinct theme exploring the rich collections of Waddesdon. The new work makes connections that span time and cultures and explores the relationship between different periods of design and architectural style. Eden draws inspiration from the long tradition of materials being used to imitate other materials, and the abundance of ornamentation characteristic of Waddesdon’s 18th-century collections and 19th-century architecture. He also uses imagery derived from modern scanners and microscopy in a contemporary take on pattern and surface treatment, for example the vermiculé or worm-like design applied to Sèvres porcelain. Form & Transform presents Eden’s new pieces amongst the objects and furniture from the different periods and styles that have inspired them.

In addition, as artist in residence, Michael Eden has been invited to design the carpet bedding for Waddesdon’s annual Parterre display. His treatment, a pixelated interpretation of the Manor’s south facade, connects this formal Victorian garden with the exhibition through his unconventional application of digital technology.

Michael Eden has worked in collaboration with Scan the World, digitally scanning objects from Waddesdon’s collections. Scan the World is a social platform with a mission to archive objects of cultural significance using 3D technologies.

Michael Eden was born in Blackburn, UK in 1955. Trained at Blackburn College of Technology & Design (1972 -1974), Leeds Polytechnic (1974 – 1975) and Royal College of Art, London (2006 – 2008). Between 1981 and 2006 he made functional slipware for Victoria & Michael Eden Pottery. From 2007 onwards he has used digital manufacturing to create works of art.

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