The Queen vs Super Brew: Ann Carrington’s art show opens at Paul Smith

A high-meets-low culture art exhibition in Mayfair

Glitter Queen of Petticoat Lane, £12,500
Glitter Queen of Petticoat Lane, £12,500

British style stalwart Sir Paul Smith first saw sculptor Ann Carrington’s work at her graduation show at the Royal College of Art. “I bought a lot, maybe all, of it,” he recalls. “I’ve been a fan and follower of her work ever since. I’ve always been impressed by the scale and intricacy of what she creates. From safety pins to two pence pieces, she has this amazing ability to transform something very ordinary into something very extraordinary.”

Busts of kings, queens, explorers and philosophers created from drinks cans, £9,900
Busts of kings, queens, explorers and philosophers created from drinks cans, £9,900
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Carrington is part magpie, part alchemist – working in the folk tradition, she creates pieces that take extraordinary amounts of time to complete. Her latest exhibition, Super Brew, opens at Smith’s Mayfair shop on Wednesday November 15 and runs for two weeks. It’s a selection of new work, using discarded and found materials – including old cans of Super Brew beer – hence the show’s name. “The work is an intoxicating blend of the high and low brow in British culture,” explains Carrington. “There are royal portraits [£13,800] complete with Elizabethan ruffs and busts [£9,900] of kings, queens, explorers and philosophers, all debunked using the humble drinks can.”

One of Carrington’s bouquets made from silver, nickel and steel spoons, from £15,800
One of Carrington’s bouquets made from silver, nickel and steel spoons, from £15,800
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As well as a striking and colourful diamond dust and glitter portrait of Queen Elizabeth on patterned beer cans (£12,500), there are grand metal bouquets (from £15,800), made from silver, nickel and steel spoons. They look classic rather than recycled. “Each of them is a modern-day memento mori,” she says. “The floral arrangements are the contents of a 16th-century Dutch still life, reassembled in another dimension and time.”

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