The Lost Pagodas 14th November 2012



Yesterday I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit the Royal Pavilion for a Private View of the ‘Lost Pagodas’.  This was followed with a talk by the artist, Geraldine Pilgrim, at Fabrica.

I had been invited along because of my invlvement with the Artist Open House in Brighton this year.  I took my friend Denise, also an Artist, who I hadn’t seen for more than 6 months.  It was also an excuse for a drink, something to eat and a catch up!

We all met at the main entrance to the Pavilion at 4.30.  I hadn’t read anything beforehand and was accordingly quite surprised to find myself walking through the actual Pavilion itself.  Each of Geraldine’s Pergodas is situate within the rooms of the Pavilion.

The first Pergoda, which is one of four, was in the hallway as your first enter the building.  I can’t remember now whether it was called Chandalier or Sparkle.  It was, however, a beautiful structure.  I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that it was several chandaliers stacked on top of each other, with a cup like lampshade on the top.  Actually, now I read that back it doesn’t sound like a very flattering description but, trust me, it is lovely!

We then made our way through to the kitchen.  The second Pagoda was made from mirrors and had cutlery scattered on all layers.  This was my least favourite of the four Pagodas.  Saying that I thought the other three were fantastic and couldn’t choose between them.  This Pagoda just seemed to be in the wrong the place.  It seemed out of proportion compared to the rest of the kitchen.   I think it would have looked much improved if it had been on a raised surface.  It looked as if it had just been left there in the middle of transit.  During her later talk, Geraldine, the artist, explained a little more about the ‘kitchen pagoda’.  She said that originally it had had champagne flowing from the top like a fountain.  At the last minute, however, she didn’t like this and accordingly replaced the champers with cutlery.  Personally, I think the mirrored champagne flowing pagoda would have made a wonderful table centre piece at a lavish venue.

We then went on to see the third pagoda in the Music Room.  The Music Room is where the original pagoda’s were once housed.  Apparently, Queen Victoria had taken contents from the Pavilion when she sold the building to the Council.  This was as it was once thought that the Pavilion was to be demolished after its sale.  As this did not happen, over the years certain contents, furnishings and the like have been returned to the Pavilion.  However, four of the pagodas have not been returned, hence the title of Geraldine’s installations.  The Pagoda in the Royal Pavilion’s Music Room is reminiscent of a carousel.  The colours of the pagoda are taken from the furnishings and decorations in the Music Room.  It fits very nicely in this room.  Every ten minues (or so!) the pagoda lights up (like a fairground attraction), plays music and the horses of the two miniature carousels turn.  Did you know that english carousels turn in a clockwise direction and american ones in an anticlockwise direction?  Actually, I think that’s what we were told but you might want to double check that trivia.

The final pagoda is made from white lace.  It is situate on the landing at the top of a flight of stairs.  This pagoda is lit by a blue light and is equally elegant without the light on.

Our tour of the Pavilion Pagodas finished at about quarter to 6.  We then walked over to the Fabrica building for a talk by Geraldine Pilgrim, Creator of the Lost Pagodas.  She was an absolutely fascinating lady who gave us a very interesting insight into her life as an artist.  Geraldine is probably known more for her site specific installations.

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