Mr Gingerknits and I are both fans of photographer Martin Parr so we took the opportunity to break the Christmas eating too much and watching too much telly tradition to visit the Baltic Gallery in Gateshead to see his latest exhibition.
I was a little underwhelmed by his new Luxury series though there were a few photos which brought a smile to my face, especially the women dressed up for race day in Newcastle, holding cans of Fosters instead of the traditional champers.
However the exhibition on the 3rd floor was a winner. As well as displaying Parr's collection of photography which is an excellent exhibtion in it's own right there is his collection of "ephemera", Parr's term for his eclectic mix of everyday objects capturing world changing events. The blurb on the Baltic website sums it up better than I can so I'll just show you a few things which caught my eye.
There was a lot of miners strike ephemera. These plates struck a chord. They were produced as fundraisers for communities. To me each plate represents a community ruined by Thatcherism.
Even more chilling were these Nazi Christmas tree decorations. Imagine hanging little books of Hitler on your 3rd Reich tree.
One a more cheery note the soviet space exploration ephemera was a joy to behold. When I was a kid I was a space geek and would learn facts such as Laika was the first mammal in space as seen on the commemorative plate below and how Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut was the first human in space.
I'm a hoarder, a clutterer, a collector. In an age where minimalism, blandness and uniformity are celebrated Parr makes me feel so much better about my love of kitsch, items for amusement and decorations in general. While I'm all for sustainability and using less there's something to be said for items that brighten your day. I was very restrained in the museum shop but did invest in some Parr ephemera. The badge will live on my Beijing Olympics bag and the chocolate bar will form my collection of art exhibition chocolate bars. That is, my collection, ahem, ephemera of one.
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