Fabric of India at the V and A

On the 9th Jan I went to the V and A in London and got tickets to see the exhibition of Indian textiles “Fabric of India”. The exhibition itself was brilliant and had lots of beautiful examples of fabric and design produced by a great variety of techniques. There was definitely a wow factor in both the range and intensity of colours and in the sheer scale of some of the pieces. Some of the woven pieces were complete floor size and full of amazing designs.

Sadly though, the organisation of the exhibition did not live up to the standard of the exhibits themselves. Entry was by timed ticket – but far too many tickets had been sold for each time slot making it extremely crowded and almost impossible to see any of the smaller items. And I say this as someone who is used to attending very high profile, high demand exhibitions at the British Museum and the National Gallery. These too can be very crowded – but nothing like the crush at this one.

There were several videos of how various fabrics were produced. For some inexplicable reason these were displayed on screens at waist height, in front of other exhibits and on a screen no larger than an iPad. With more thought these could have been on plasma screens at a raised height where a whole group of people could watch at once rather than just one person.

The cynical part of me thinks that the museum sold more tickets than necessary to make more money. Personally I think I would have preferred to be told it was sold out, rather than spend a frustrating hour or so in a crush without seeing very much in any detail.