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British artist recreates 70 famous works in felt at Chinese gallery

Lucy Sparrow's exhibition features full-scale replicas of works by Picasso and Damien Hirst.

A British artist has filled a gallery with 70 of the world’s most recognisable pieces, made entirely from felt.

Lucy Sparrow’s exhibition features full-size versions of works including Michelangelo’s David and the Mona Lisa.

Her takes on pieces by Botticelli, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet and Hopper hang in felt frames in the gallery.

She has recreated Damien Hirst’s shark piece entirely out of felt, as well as Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans.

Sparrow's take on Barbara Kruger's 'Your Body is a Battleground' (M Woods/PA)
Sparrow’s take on Barbara Kruger’s Your Body Is A Battleground (M Woods/PA)

Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog and Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin are also part of the collection, as well as Ming and Jade vases.

There is a room full of Chinese warriors, while another is a darkened cave etched with prehistoric paintings.

Sparrow, 33, from Bath, Somerset, has spent nine months creating her Felt Art Imaginarium at the M Woods art museum in Beijing.

“Felt is an extremely versatile material and also has one the largest colour palettes of any art medium,” she said.

“I have been working with felt since I was six years old – it also has certain qualities that make it very tactile and I personally think it evokes happiness.”

She described how visitors to the gallery will immediately be struck by the “muffled quiet”.

A felt version of Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin (M Woods/PA)
A felt version of Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin (M Woods/PA)

There is multi-coloured felt from floor to ceiling, with artworks in 14 rooms across three storeys.

Sparrow has filled the space with some of her favourite artworks, as well as important Chinese pieces and antiquities.

Recreating each painting in felt is a three-day process that begins with researching it closely.

She sketches the felt panel before cutting each shape out of different coloured felt and pinning it in place.

Each section is then hand-stitched before being painted and highlighted, stretched and framed.

Larger sculptures must be made in sections, which are then pieced together.

“The show is 95% felt – the walls, the plinths, the frames and of course all of the artworks,” Sparrow said.

The exhibition will run until October, when it will be taken on a two-year tour across five Chinese cities.

Sparrow’s previous works have included a fully-stocked felt cornershop in London, and a convenience store in New York.

She returns to the American city in September for her next show, her felt take on an upmarket deli.

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