Wednesday 4 April 2018

London College of Fashion presents Footnotes: Intimate Stories of Shoes at Sutton House

Opening on Wednesday 9 May 2018

Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, Hackney, London E9 6JQ

As part of London Craft Week, London College of Fashion, UAL, presents Footnotes, an exhibition of artist responses to the College’s historic shoe archive hosted at the National Trust’s Sutton House in Hackney.

The exhibition will, for the first time, reveal objects from London College of Fashion, UAL’s eclectic archive which includes 1930s orthopaedic footwear, silk slippers from the 1800s and even a shoe made for a sheep.

Artists Eelko Moorer, Ellen Sampson, Linda Brothwell and Laila Diallo have produced new works inspired by the remarkable history of the selected shoes revealing new interpretations of historic objects under the guise of five categories – Scale, Balance, Fragility, Singled Out and Common/Uncommon.

The selected shoes will form a trail through the historic east London property, which has 500 years of different period rooms, from 1530s to the 1980s, making it an ideal venue in which to chart the history of the exhibits. Included in the exhibition is a small Victorian girl’s shoe which was found under the floorboards at Sutton House dating back to its time as Eliza Temple’s School of Etiquette for Girls.

The exhibition will be open to the public at Sutton House from 9 May 2018.

Curated by Alison Moloney, from the Centre for Fashion Curation, a research centre based at London College of Fashion, UAL with archive co-curation by Amy de la Haye, and supported using public funding by Arts Council England and sponsored by Kurt Geiger, the exhibition explores the cultural significance of shoes through the artists’ interpretations.

The audience will be encouraged to interact with the exhibition through the responses, which will include a virtual reality experience and the recorded sound of a dance and they will be able to add their own interpretations of the shoes, including a shoe made for a giant.

Alison Moloney, curator and research fellow at London College of Fashion, UAL said: “London College of Fashion’s shoe archive has been compiled to inspire and instruct students in the making

and designing of shoes. As objects, the shoes have so many interpretive possibilities for artists because the provenance of each one is unknown.

“Sutton House provides the perfect backdrop to Footnotes because of its own extensive history. Through this exhibition and accompanying programme of workshops and talks, we want to immerse people in the history of the every day and in shoes as ways to reanimate the past and access personal and shared cultural memories among the audience.”

Christopher Cleeve, House and Gardens Manager at Sutton House, said: “Sutton House is Hackney’s oldest home and it represents a myriad of influences which have made east London such an inspiring place.

“By hosting their ‘Footnotes’ exhibition at Sutton House, London College of Fashion have seamlessly matched their diverse archive of footwear with an equally diverse assortment of democratic, surprising and challenging stories. It has been a joy to see how the universal themes from this collection of shoes interplay with the history of this special place, and we are excited to see how our artists, community groups and visitors respond.”

Neil Clifford, CEO Kurt Geiger said “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with London College of Fashion. At Kurt Geiger we’re committed to giving back through mentoring programs and financial support to develop the next generation of design talent.”

The exhibition will run until July 2018 and will feature an extensive programme of talks and workshops including a dance workshop exploring how shoes inform movement, fairytale readings for children based on shoe stories and archive-based drawing workshops.

Full list of Footnotes collaborators and contributors:
Eelko Moorer - In Eelko’s work there is an underlying preoccupation with balance, often taken to extremes through his focus on the psychological and physical impact that designed objects can have upon the human form.

Using the orthopaedic shoes within the Balance section of the exhibition as inspiration, Eelko’s response to Footnotes is Anxiety Island, creating a virtual reality environment to create the feeling of imbalance when moving.

Linda Brothwell - Linda Brothwell’s response to Footnotes centres on a Japanese wooden Geta clog from c.1930-1950. Linda’s ‘reading’ of the Geta comes from the perspective of an artists and tool-maker who understands not only the construction techniques, but also the gestures used by the maker when crafting the object. For Footnotes Linda will undertake a silent apprenticeship, in the shadow of a maker she will never meet, by following his gestures which can be seen through the tool marks ingrained in the wood, to recreate the rhythm of his hand in new objects. 
Laila Diallo – Laila is a Canadian-born, Bristol-based dance maker. Recent works have explored notions of change, impermanence, remembering and forgetting, and our experience of time passing. For Footnotes, Diallo will record the sonic imprints of performance, revealing the music of shoed feet on floors.

Ellen Sampson - Ellen is an artist and material culture researcher, whose work explores the relationships between bodily experience, memory and artefacts. Inspired by the shattered and worn shoes in the Fragility section, Sampson will draw upon the Brothers Grimm story, The Twelve Dancing Princesses - to make shoes which, through wear, will become records of a performance.

Programme of talks and workshops to follow 

Infant’s lace ankle shoe, c. 1820. Exhibition category – Scale
Infant’s lace ankle shoe, c. 1820. Exhibition category – Scale

Lifeguard (military) thigh boot, c.1850. Exhibition category - Scale
Lifeguard (military) thigh boot, c.1850. Exhibition category - Scale

Orthopaedic Derby boot. Cordwainers College student work, c. 1930’s. Exhibition category – Balance
Orthopaedic Derby boot. Cordwainers College student work, c. 1930’s. Exhibition category – Balance

Shattered silk side-lace ankle boot, c. 1860’s. Exhibition category – Fragility
Shattered silk side-lace ankle boot, c. 1860’s. Exhibition category – Fragility