Kingston University’s Stanley Picker Gallery is playing host to Dora, an exhibition that celebrates the work of Russian sculptor, artist, and designer Dora Gordine.
Curator David Falkner invited five artists to select one of Gordine’s pieces to present alongside one of their own.
Falkner described Dora as “a really intriguing personality and an interesting character. She was an artist who, especially in the time she was living and working, had incredible ambitions”.
Dora Gordine lived and worked in the Kingston area from the 1930s after she designed Dorich House for her and her husband Richard Hare. She remained in the house until her death in 1991; the house now features a permanent collection of her works, including her bronze sculptures and many of her paintings and drawings.
The artists were invited to visit Dorich House Museum to think about her achievements and the best way to honour her within their own work.
Fiona Banner, a Kingston alumni and an honorary doctorate, described the project as a “unique experience”.
She chose to present two of Gordine’s bronze sculptures, a male and a female, facing each other through Black Blind (1999), a slashed graphite drawing hung from the ceiling between the two figures.
“They are formally presented on these plinths, they are kind of sexy sculptures in a very formalised way. I didn’t think they were inter-reacting so I put them with the black blind,” said Banner.
“I always saw Black Blind as something you could perform in front of, so they are kind of performing for each other.”
Falkner praised Banner’s addition to the exhibit, saying she “combined them to almost become a whole new piece of work.”
The four other artists involved in the project are Nicole Wermers, who was a fellow for the Stanley Picker Gallery, Hilary Lloyd, Dorich House’s first fellow, and the duo Cullinan Richards, who are both involved in the running of the gallery.
Falkner described the process of putting Dora together as “organic”, adding “we allowed each of the artists to respond to the work in the way they wanted to. I would like to think I gave as much scope as possible for all of them to respond in the way they wanted to. I think it has worked beautifully together.”
The exhibit aims to broaden audiences understanding of Gordine’s work “because this not an exhibition of Gordine, it’s an exhibition about Gordine through the eyes of contemporary artists.”
Falkner hopes the exhibition will also act as a “clear manifesto of what we could do with the house and how we can use it in different ways, how different artists can take inspiration from it, but also vice versa so we can use contemporary artists to reanimate the house.”
He went on to say that: “We’re very excited, it’s like a new day for Dorich House Museum and we’ve used the opportunity of the Dora show to display our ambitions.”
The Stanley Picker Gallery was established in 1997 and plays host to four major exhibits each year, it offers a programme of fellowships for up-and-coming artists and is supported by the Stanley Picker Trust.
Gordine’s work can also be viewed at the Dorich House Museum when it reopens on January 6.