artist statement.jpg
critical reflection.jpg
documentation.jpg
critical reflection.jpg
artist statement.jpg
Line.png
Line.png
gallery .jpg
Line.png
critical reflection.jpg
documentation.jpg
Line.png
context.jpg
Line.png
professional skills.jpg
Line.png
critical reflection.jpg
Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 19.45.31.png

Installation view, Fatty Acids at Stephen Friedman Gallery, 2022

 

I’m interested in the idea of artworks being activated by the bodies that interact with the work – and subverting the idea of viewer into participant. Franz West’s ‘Adaptive’ sculptures explores how we interact with space and move around objects. The lines and scale always relate to the body in some way, whether they’re to be worn on the body or for them to wear the body in some respect. In particular the large-scale works, which were designed for people to lay, sit and move between them. I’m curious about how these long, bulbous forms interrupt space and oppose the architecture in which they exist, especially where he has worked with scale to create larger-than-life organic shapes. 

franz west.jpg

Schlieren, Franz West, Franz West at the Zabludowicz Collection, 2001

 

 

Jonathan Baldock‘s interest in material and the human body concludes in cocoon-like forms, which, similarly to Franz West, have an organic appearance. Much like my own interests, Jonathan’s work explores the relationship between the body and the hand-crafted, and the slow, time-consuming processes involved. He primarily works with wool, which is steeped in histories of tradition and labour, and his sculptures are a result of spinning, plant dyeing and basket-weaving. In his solo exhibition ‘Warm Inside’, Baldock displayed a collection of woven baskets containing dried lavender, with feet and hands subtly appearing from the forms. There’s a playfulness to the sculptures, and a very human feeling of nestling and hiding away, whilst the lavender provide calming smells (that feel very nostalgic to me). There’s a brilliant relationship between the natural materials of the willow, lavender, and wool, contrasted with the cartoonish hands and feet. It feels as though the cocoons have replaced the body entirely.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 20.05.08.png

Installation view of Warm Inside, Jonathan Baldock, 2021

 

Continuing the idea of the body replaced, Doris Salcedo’s piece, Untitled (1990) featured stacks of crisp, white shirts that had been pierced by metal rods. Salcedo used the shirts to simultaneously represent the domestic labour of women and formal shirts worn by men at funerals. Accompanying the shirts were stark, empty bed frames, laid on the floor and leaning against the walls. The work was a direct response to the Banana Plantation Massacre of La Honduras and La Negra in 1988, and the conversations Salcedo had with the women who had witnessed their fathers, husbands and sons being killed on the doorsteps of their own homes during this period. The installation addresses loss and disempowerment, and whilst the work addresses a very specific moment in history, the feelings that are imparted onto the viewer are much more universal. I’m interested in how the clothing and beds, things we associate as soft and warm, are given this cold, rigid, formal quality in order to emphasise this absence. Familiarity is important to Salcedo, often using everyday furniture to evoke a very physical feeling of the body. This relates to conversations I’ve had with Olivia Bax about both giving the audience something familiar to grasp on to, whilst taking away the comfortable, leaving the viewer questioning and partaking in an inquiry.

Salcedo.jpeg

 

Untitled, Doris Salcedo, 1990

Robert Morris makes the distinction between how we experience objects and how we experience architectural spaces, saying that ‘In perceiving an object, one occupies a separate space – one’s own space. In perceiving architectural space, one’s own space is not separate, but coexistent with what is perceived. In the first case, one surrounds; in the second, one is surrounded.’(1) In working in a site-responsive manner, I’m trying to encompass both of these sensations – surrounding and surrounded. I don’t see the sculptures as objects in and of themselves, because I don’t believe that they could be moved and placed anywhere and still be experienced in the same way. Or at least not to begin with. I think it’s important to acknowledge the place from which the objects were intended, even after they have taken on a new life and journey of their own.

In many instances, the idea of the white cube only relates to the inside of a building, or a small section of the space. Robert Morris describes these spaces as ‘non-spacial,’ (2) designed only for the object, whereas Daniel Burren describes the limits of the gallery as ‘both the point of departure and the point of arrival.’ (3) I’m interested in these non-spaces and limits, and how an artwork must navigate or confront these, and I think an interesting way to do this is to consider the building as a whole – and not just a white space that has been contained within. Sometimes after making site-responsive work, I have felt an urge, or an imperative, to then remove the sculptures from the space that they were made in response to. It is as if the sculptures had performed their necessary act in that one place, and now there were new possibilities and new spaces to interrupt – taking with it the stories and experiences of the previous place.*

This led me to think about walls as living, breathing entities. The breathability of a building is already commonplace in building/construction, and I enjoy imagining these rigid spaces as something that performs the same bodily actions as ourselves, imagining humans reduced to the particles of oxygen and carbon dioxide that move in and out. And there’s a co-dependency here; the buildings rely on us like we rely on them. An empty building isn’t able to sustain itself, and so it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship. 

Do Ho Suh creates exact replicas of buildings and homes by stitching together semi-translucent fabrics that are often suspended and arranged in an immersive yet fragile way. Taking the construction of clothing as inspiration, Do Ho Suh will often pack the work into suitcases and travel between continents, taking the work on a journey of transitory and connecting spaces, often thinking about corridors, stairs and bridges as a way of linking bodies and cultures: These loose, dream-like spaces explore individuality and collectivity, physicality and immateriality, mobility and fixity, which spans across cultures, time and place. Repetition and sensitivity of process questions our personal space by subverting the rigidity and heaviness of our built spaces, into something ephemeral and weightless. The fragility of boundaries between interior and exterior, and the containment of memory and experience become fluid.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 20.19.28.png

 

Staircase III, Do Ho Suh, 2003-2010

 

This idea of in-betweenness has been key in my most recent body of work. Informing my drawings are photographs I’ve taken whilst I’m between two places – like walking from home to the studio, walking from one room to another, walking from the inside of a building to the outside. I view these as important, but fleeting, ungraspable moments. Our bodies make these journeys habitually, unquestioningly, necessarily.

Non-functional spaces are the subject of Thea Djordjadze’s sculptural and installation works, whereby she creates environments that don’t conform to one thing or another: shelves and chairs intercept other objects to become hybrid objects, new materials interact with found materials, and 3-dimensional drawings slice up the space and confront the architecture. Djordjadze is interested in the gallery space as a transitional space, echoing memory and material interaction by creating unanticipated physical and psychological experiences that interpret space and function. One way she does this is by often re-configuring her own work and gathering materials that are local to the gallery spaces in which she is exhibiting, as well as adopting architectural motifs from these sites. Similar to works by Katinka Bock, these installations are anachronistic – belonging to a previous time – and I think this creates a unique experience for the viewer where they are given only some of the context of the materials presented, and the rest is hidden or left open to interpretation.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 20.23.17.png

 

Untitled, Thea Djordjadze, 2014

 

If Anthony Gormley is interested in the silhouette of the body as weight, shape, and presence, and Louise Bourgeois is concerned with the skin; emphasising the soft, squidgy, bulbous qualities of our bodies through stitching and expanding, then what I’m more interested in is the body as a disappearing, decaying, or stretched form, that doesn’t exist of the flesh or bodily fluids (Marc Quinn); a skeletal structure where the materials we interact with is all that remains.

‘The fabric always implies something that lies beneath, alluding to a ‘substance’ that looks to be veiled, if not shadowy. A subterranean, almost always carnal world, one linked to suffering and pain, to joy, and to physical and concrete memories, that appear through the outlines of the woven surface. A sort of description of an elsewhere, the mark of an enveloping and persistent density: a dark and hidden body from which we have just emerged.’ (4)

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 21.25.30.png

 

Couple IV, Louise Bourgeois, 1997

 

The grids that have become a recurring feature in my work aren’t just about these regularly repeated architectural features or the in-between spaces I’ve been working within, but also a reference to the material themselves – the warp and weft of the woven fabrics that make up the fabrication of the garments. Sometimes these woven forms are similar in appearance to microscopic images of our skin; textured and meshed; a barrier. These linear forms give the impression of, building, growing and moving through the spaces they inhabit. I see this as both an addition and subtraction of form.

In creating these long, thick lines in my work, I’m also referencing the thread itself. The thread that connect and cross, and the seams that hold together the garments themselves. I wonder if I studied the thread under a microscope, will it resemble the speckled, pulped lines of my own work?

Lenore Tawney’s long sculptures have a sense of pulling, entwining and twisting, often referencing the weaving process itself. Her ‘Woven Forms’ moved into the three-dimensions space that textiles could, and should, explore; taking weaving methods away from the flat plane, and using unconventional methods that incorporated stitching as well as combining opposing weaving methods (such straight weaving mixed with open warp weaving). It appears to me that Tawney expanded, not just the woven surface, but how we move amongst and experience the spaces in which she exhibits, where the threads create barriers and re-frame the spaces, and these positive and negative spaces create a dialogue.

Lenore Tawney.jpg

 

Untitled, Lenore Tawney, 1961

 

When I visit an exhibiting space it takes me a little while to adjust to the frequency of the room. Documenting the space through photos and drawings helps me work out what is happening in these environments, and then I often re-write the space in my head in accordance with the mood of building. It’s important to me that my work alters these spaces and is disruptive, but feels comfortable at the same time. 

 

*For example, ‘growing, moving, in-between, inner, outer I and II’ were designed to disrupt the flow of movement (both bodily and non-bodily) through the corridor. This represented an in-between space, a temporal space, a space for movement, and a transient space; the sense of which was deepened further by the glass floors, and windowed ceilings. When I was downstairs I could see the ghost-like steps of people above – indistinct. ‘growing, moving, in-between, inner, outer III & IV’ rotated the features from the floor to the walls, where the sculptures were reclaiming the space as their own and continued the glass grids further than an object to be navigated. The dialogue was between the sculpture and the wall, and how the bodies that were kept separate from this divided space.

References:

(1)  Robert Morris, The Present Tense of Space, 1978 (p.27 Situation, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(2)  Robert Morris, The Present Tense of Space, 1978 (p.27 Situation, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(3)  Daniel Burren, Critical Limits, 1973 (p.34 Situation, Documents on Contemporary Art, Whitechapel, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(4)  Germano Celant, Dressing Louise Bourgeois, 2010 (p.13, Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works, published by SKIRA on behalf of Hauser & Wirth)

Bibliography:

Situation (Documents on Contemporary Art), Edited by Claire Doherty, 2009, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery

Fray and Textile Politics, by Julia Bryan-Wilson, 2017, published by The University of Chicago Press

Fiber: Sculpture 1960-Present, edited by Jenelle Porter, 2014, published by Prestel

Textiles: Open Letter, by Rilke Frank and Grant Watson, 2015, published by Sternberg Press

Website: https://www.stephenfriedman.com/news/600-jonathan-baldock-warm-inside

Website:  https://www.stephenfriedman.com/exhibitions/157-holly-hendry-fatty-acids/

Website: https://www.victoria-miro.com/artists/188-do-ho-suh/

Website: https://www.southlondongallery.org/exhibitions/thea-djordjadze/

 

A site of action 

When considering our bodies, or non-bodies, in space, I began to think about what space means in relation to place, time and activity. Working with material in a laborious and intensive way, I’ve thought a lot about how our bodies exude energy – not just in the measurable sense of kinetic or thermal energies, but as abstract energies too – the energy of consciousness and experience. What happens when we consume and expel energies that are linked to a specific place, environment or time? How does labour and human activity enrich or alter these sites?

 

And what is a site of action? Here I’m thinking about the studio, the factory, the home, the body, the hand, the rural, the urban, the frame, the floor, the desk, the surface, the outside, the inside, the Earth, the air.

The studio: a site of action

Throughout the year I have been concerned with the labour of making, and have adopted a process-driven approach whereby the process is of equal importance to, if not more important than, the ‘end product’. Therefore the studio space has become crucial to me, and the repetitive, ritualistic ways I collect, arrange, organise and undertake these tasks plays specific roles in the work; whether it’s the collecting and categorising of clothing, the dissection of garments into their ‘patterns’, the storage of the cut up fabric in uniform containers, and the way I store a small amount of fabric that is left over so that I can repair shrinkage or damage. Using a very limited set of tools (scissors, small analogue grinder, mixing bowl, jug, stick, vegetable glycerine, sodium alginate and clothing), the simplified, staged process enriches the material, and the studio becomes a site of action.

Daniel Buren, in ‘The Function of the Studio’ (1971), described the studio as ‘the unique space of production’ where as the museum is ‘the unique space of exposition’. (5) As the birthplace of an artwork, Buren goes on to describe the work produced in the studio as the ‘closest to its own reality’ and ‘only in the studio that the work may be said to belong’ (6). In Danièle Cohn’s book ‘Anselm Kiefer Studios’, he revels at the idea of visiting a studio and seeing the creative process in action. Outside of the studio ‘we see the cold final version, not the heat of the creative act,’ whereas ‘the studio unites entities that are often separated: artistic activity and philosophy about the arts, the biographical and the aesthetic, the man and his oeuvre […] we are provided with explanations and tales, with demonstrations and history, with the psychology of the creative act and the science of art’ .(7) This idea of unveiling is also explored in Philip Zarrilli’s essay ‘The Metaphysical Studio’ in 2002, whereby Zarilli describes the studio as a ‘liminal space between […] a place to explore the doer and the done,’ (8) ‘a site for philosophical exploration’ (9) and a place ‘where it is impossible to hide, and where our experience and our ‘selves’ are always reflected back to us.’ (10) These interpretations of the studio then seem somewhat personal, individual, secretive, or mystical; where the action is kept behind closed doors and can’t be revealed until such a time as the work is removed from the studio (into Buren’s ‘unique space of exposition’).

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 21.50.59.png

 

Anselm Kiefer in his studio

 

However, the studio can be seen as a moveable, interchangeable, variable site for making too, where anyone is able to witness these actions taking place. In Edgar Arceneaux’s project ‘Drawings of Removal’, he creates temporary studio spaces in the galleries in which he exhibits his drawings, and the presentation of the work constantly changes throughout the course of the show. Concerned with memory and the constantly changing places linked with our past, the work mimics the repetitive experience of loss and remembering that formulates ‘the memory’. Talking to Aimee Chang for the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) in 2004, Arceneaux said the work is ‘literally active – something is being built and something is breaking down’. (11) There’s no beginning or end to the drawings, and the side of action is the temporary space in which he performs this activity, and the constantly moving surface of the drawing itself. This made me consider the act of making as a performance, and not necessarily something to that should be shrouded in mystery. 

 

Umnqweno, Nobukho Nqaba, 201

 

 

Shifting from the absent body to the present body, Raisa Kabir uses the laboured body as a site of action and defiance. Kabir uses textiles and performance to explore concerns of power, production, politics of cloth and labour, especially in relation to embodied geographies and the queer brown body as an archive of collective trauma. Using the body to perform labour, Kabir has often used non-mechanical looms and performance to portray the weight of trauma and exploitation of the textiles industry. This included repetitive dance with looms, carrying large quantities of cotton across the gallery, and using the feet as a body-loom, and un-weaving and re-weaving. Kabir demonstrates the intensity of labour through these sometimes uncomfortable performances, which I think is important in the context of labour as an invisible act behind closed doors.

‘It used the placing of my own brown body, as a living archive, to tap into the violent displacement and movement of peoples during partition, and their resonant ghosts, to become present within the performance. It interlaced the acts of weaving and dance, tethered to the brown body - mine -through a performance that acts as an invocation of these ghosts. It restates and re-situates that mining of labour from brown bodies, and racialised craft work, to the accrued wealth from exploits of empire.’ (12)

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 22.21.19.png

 

Raise Kabir performing ‘build me a loom off of your back and your stomach’ 2018

 

 

The hand: a site of action

John Roberts, in his essay ‘Skill and Deskilling in Art after the Readymade’ (2007) asks, ‘Where is the hand, exactly, in the dialectic of skill and deskilling?’ (13)  With the use of automated machinery in production, the use of technology in communications, and the readymade in art, the role of the hand has been discarded somewhat. But with every push in one direction is a pull in another, and the resurgence of textiles, craft and more authentic making practices has meant that the hand as a source of energy, and a site of action, feels more prominent than ever.  What’s more the visual of wires and threads have become intertwined as these networks, passages, and ‘live’ connections, both in our material and digitised worlds.

 

Anni Albers speaks of threads as events. The definition of ‘event’ given by Alfred North Whitehead is: ‘events, or durations in the passage of nature, produce thought,’ (14) so by thinking about the production of thought through the weaving of threads, it seems pertinent to me that there’s a dialogue between the hand and the threads in through process, ‘its patterns and procedures intersect with other practices, other modes of thought’. (15)

 

The action of low-tech, hand-made processes like stitching are also important to Magdalena Abakanowicz, who would create organic forms using weaving and stitching. Her Abakans sculptures brought large-scale woven forms into the three-dimensional space, woven with coarse sisal rope, which is plant-based, and whilst the sculptures resemble folds of skin and flesh, they also have a relationship to the natural world. Abakanowicz later began working with burlap, a material made from natural hessian, and resembled indistinct human forms. ‘Embryology’ at the Tate Modern shows a collection of stitched boulder-like shapes of all sizes, exploring regeneration and the development of humans and animals. She created these works with limited resources, to reflect her living conditions in Soviet-controlled Poland, and these labour-intensive processes encompass hard and soft, monumentality and necessity. Thinking about threads as events (like Anni Albers) and an exchange of thought, energy and dialogue, I think the role of Abakanowicz’ hand is crucial in the work.

 

Embryology, Magdalena Abakanowicz, 1978-80

 

 

The Home: a site of action

Gaston Bachelard describes the function of the house as inhabiting, thinking about ‘how we inhabit our vital space, in accord with all the dialectics of life, how we take root, day after day.’ (16) 

 

Bachelard believes that the home, whether new or old, carries with it a history that lives within us, and an imagination that we project onto the space; ‘An entire past comes to dwell in a new house […] and the daydream deepens to the point where an immemorial domain opens up for the dreamer of a home beyond man’s earliest memory’. (17) I’m interested in how a place can encapsulate both the past and future, and how this can translate to an object or material, by referencing where it’s come from and where it’s going. ‘Past, present and future give the house different dynamisms, which often interfere, at times opposing, at others, stimulating one another’. (18)

 

In responding to built environments, it’s interesting to consider the bodies of those who made it, the bodies of those who inhabited and moved amongst it, and the bodies of those who are yet to exist within it. Much like clothing, the built space is a space of potential. Do the energies of people from the past exist in these places? And do they drive the consciousness, and potential for dreaming (‘through dreams, the various dwelling-places in our lives co-penetrate and retain the treasures of former days’) (19) through the energy of previous bodies? Allowing for the space to drive thought and action.

Heidi Bucher’s physically demanding process of taking latex impressions of the inside of buildings, objects, clothing and the body creates a haunting record of a time and place that isn’t graspable. The imprints carry with them traces and memories, and have the appearance of skins – with a sagging quality that feels bodily, and juxtaposes the architectural, rigid and structural spaces that they are taken from. The semi-translucence of the latex gives the work a slightly ephemeral quality, relating back to the obscurity of the casts themselves - the place is literally imprinted into the material but isn’t always recognisable.​

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 22.32.00.png

 

Kleins Glasportal Bellevue Kruezlingen and Parquet Floor of Study at Winterthur-Wülflingen, Heidi Bucher, 1979

 

Material: a site of action

​What I am posturing in the work is the idea that through the act of making, an energy, a living entity of consciousness, is passed between body and material, enabling the material to have a kind of lived experience (although not necessarily the same kind of lived experience that we are used to as humans).

 

 Jane Bennett, in Vibrant Matter, poses the question: ‘How, for example, would patterns of consumption change if we faced not litter, rubbish, trash, or ‘the recycling’, but an accumulating pile of lively and potentially dangerous matter?’ (20) The idea of ‘rubbish’ or waste appears to me as the separating a material (or object) from the human; it’s de-possessed, and given over to the Earth. Bennet describes debris she encountered on the street as,  ‘on the one hand, stuff to ignore, except insofar as it betokened human activity […] and on the other hand, stuff that commanded attention in its own right.’ (21) A seemingly disparate, unrelated group of things – both organic and inorganic – come together to create a new collection, a new gathering, a new dialogue: ‘I caught a glimpse of an energetic vitality inside each of these things, things that I generally conceived as inert. In this assemblage, objects appeared as things, that is, as vivid entities not entirely reducible to the contexts in which (human) subjects set them.’ (22) 

 

At first I thought I was prolonging the life of the garments that I have been working with: these items of clothing are irreparably damaged and unable to be used in their intended purpose. However, now I think about the cycle of objects slightly differently. An item of clothing doesn’t ‘die’ just because we stop wearing it, remove it from our houses and take it away from the body. It exists somewhere else, and it continues to learn, decay, grow, transform. What has become imprinted in the material through its many interactions with the body, with furniture, with technology, with electricity, with life?

 

Considering Bruno Latour’s ‘actuant’ (a source of action that is both human and non-human) and its application to art-making, I’m reminded of Yoshihara Jiro’s Gutai Manifesto, where he talks about art as a site of creation: ‘Gutai aspires to present exhibitions filled with vibrant spirit, exhibitions in which an intense cry accompanies the discovery of the new life of matter’ (23) Succeeding the Gutai movement was the Mono-ha movement, which, unlike Gutai, was more interested in material encounters, the sensations that these arouse, and the structures in which they existed. In Lee Ufan’s 2011 solo exhibition titled ‘Marking Infinity’, he uses series and placement to create recurring encounters between object and viewer, for example . What is key in the Mono-ha movement is that the materials remain intact, and as is, with little need for artistic intervention in the traditional sense.

body and space: clothing, labour and ecologies

introduction

At the beginning of the course I was concerned with the physical and emotional properties of clothing, and how this can be re-purposed, re-formed and re-interpreted as an art material. Clothing is a readily available material, carries with it the personal histories of its previous wearers, as well as having an intrinsic link to issues around labour, waste, and capitalism. I consider myself a textiles artist, and the long-standing history of craft, combined with textiles’ tactile sensibility, has been a key component in my practice. Through the interactions I’ve been having with the these garments and a strengthening sense of collaboration between myself and the materials that I work with, I have found there’s a much richer conversation happening within this act of making, which I have tried to make sense of here.

Bringing together my six key research themes from Unit One and Two (clothing, recycling, a new material, craft, labour and the language of materials) I have tried to find the points of tension between them all, where the ideas collide, mesh or oppose, and created three new research areas: (non) bodies in space, a site of action, and sustainability through materiality

(non) bodies in space 

Many artists have explored the body through both bodily and non-bodily sculptures, initiatives and gestures. I previously spoke about the works of Christian Boltanski, who used clothing as a ‘placeholder’ of the body, expressing loss and the absence of life, and Karina Kaikonnen, who would arrange and stretch clothes into large-scale installations across buildings and landscapes, creating collective memory through the individual stories of the empty clothing. There’s always a sense that the body should be inhabiting these garments, making us question what happened to the wearer. In my work, the focus is still on the bodies of the people who wore the clothes. However, I’ve become increasingly interested in the subject as not just human body, but as a merging of different living and non-living forms, and how they respond and react to space, architecture and environment.

 

One example of this mode of thinking is Holly Hendry. Hendry breaks down our bodies into functional forms, and creates mechanical, modular versions of them; altering what we often consider as warm, soft bodily objects, into clean, crisp anatomical depictions of the body, inspired by machinery and gadgetry. In her solo exhibition ‘Fatty Acids’ at Stephen Friedman Gallery, Hendry created a production line throughout the space, demonstrating human feelings as rationalised, calculated actions; representing the body as a factory, or functional, automated machine. The imagery often alludes to the cartoon-like, science textbook diagrams that acts as the first port-of-call for understanding the body and the processes from within it. I’m interested in these as human-made interventions; instrument and diagram. In Fatty Acids, Hendry’s installations are activated by an invisible force, and as we navigate the space we become both the worker and the subject, and an active participants in these never-ending cycles.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 21.59.26.png

 

Drawings of Removal by Edgar Arceneaux

 

 

 

Laboured bodies: a site of action

Whilst thinking about artists who take on labour-intensive, physical tasks as part of their working methods, it dawned on me that this could be extended to ‘makers’ of all kinds; those making objects, commodity, parts, medicines, technology, buildings, etc. The kinds of repetitive actions I’ve considered here can be seen most commonly in factories, building sites, and other physically demanding workplaces.

‘Collateral’ by Brigid Mcleer is a collaborative piece that commemorates the many workers who have died due to the poor working conditions in factories and sweatshops in the garment industry. Inspired by Gawthorp Hall’s laced panel commemorating the Battle of Britain, Mcleer re-imagined the embroidered image, with the help of local embroiderers, and instead of burning buildings, she depicted burning factories instead, with red thread for each of the bodies that were killed. The intimate, hand-made craft involved in making the work is crucial in the act of paying respect to those who have died whilst undertaking their own hand-crafted labours. The work was then displayed in the Queen Street Mill in Burnley surrounded by empty looms, and where the absence of the workers enhances the sense of loss and quiet, in what would have been a bustling and noisy mill. Once again, the absent bodies are represented in textile forms, but this time it’s the coming together of the two actions; the haunting of the work performed by labourers, and the meditative act of craft that brings together that past and present.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 22.08.22.png

 

Collateral, Brigid Mcleer, 2021

 

 

Similar, this haunting is felt in Nobukho Nqaba’s work, which explores the precariousness of migrant experiences across Africa, using commonplace materials to question and disrupt the often overlooked connotations of those objects, with a focus on home, migration, opportunity and unformal settlements. In ‘Umnqweno’ (translated to ‘desire’ from Xhosa), Nqaba uses blue overalls, the common uniform of low paid workers in South Africa, as an expression of the worker’s experience. Nqaba displays the work as empty vessels, or knotted rags that hang limply from the ceilings and walls, and have a ghostly feel. Nqaba wants the work to shed a light on the complexities of labour, and the poor working conditions and low wages of the workers who are often silenced or ignored, whilst also celebrating them and their identity. Here, not only are the bodies a site of action and labour, but the overalls act as a signifier of this work and the people who inhabit them, much like Mcleer’s empty looms.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 22.13.47.png
Screenshot 2022-10-30 at 13.29.23.png
Screenshot 2022-11-14 at 19.30.30.png

 

Installation view of Marking Infinity at the Guggenheim Museum, Lee Ufan, 2011

 

 

Whilst I think both Gutai and Mono-ha are pertinent concepts when considering the truth of material, what excites me more is the collaboration between artist and material – and how these interventions can shed new light on material and the material’s connection with the body, and what we impart on the material, as much as what the material imparts on us. Clothing is particularly pertinent against the backdrop of material consciousness, because clothing has spent a long time interacting with our bodies, taking on certain properties of the body, and absorbing cells and other organic matter than become engrained in the fabric. Not only this, but the tactile manufacturing processes of clothing, which sees the labour largely done by hand and a sewing machine, means that from its inception, the material is constantly absorbing an energy that gets passed between hand, body, and garment.

 

In ‘The Posthuman Conception of Consciousness: a 10-point Guide’, Robert Pepperell says that there is the ‘possibility that intelligence could emerge in non-human substrates’ (24) and makes the argument that ‘the human body is not separate from its environment. Since the boundary between the world and ourselves consists of permeable membranes that allow energy and matter to flow in and out, there can be no definite point at which our bodies begin or end.’ (25) If energy can move freely between body and matter, and these energies can become events, then there’s no reason that consciousness can’t develop from that, because, much like Whiteread said, events produce thoughts.

 

The urban: a site of action

Previously I looked at the different roles of the flaneur and the ragpicker, who both have a different material experience of urban spaces and the traces of history left behind. This year I have spent a lot of time in urban spaces, walking across South London, and I have noticed more and more that regularly recurring imagery from these walks have began to inform shape, form and scale within my work. Thinking about the practice of psychogeography as the thoughtful navigation of an environment, I’ve often considered the way I navigate the urban spaces I interact with as a functional, repetitive task. And much like the processes involved in my art practice, I’m mindful of the repetitive actions of the body when walking.

The Situationist International (1957-1972) described psychogeography as the ‘study of specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.’ (26) (p.1-2 of Walking Inside Out – quoted from Andreotti and Costa 1996, 69). Gareth E. Rees describes walking as ‘unavoidably an act of writing and reading […] the landscape is heavy with text,’ (27) and in his text ‘Wooden Stones’, it appeared to me that psychogeography can become a material investigation, where Rees would often comment on the rope, plastic bottles, sandstone and patches of grass, and with each of these materials there’s a memory or a vitality attached to them, simultaneously projected onto and absorbed by the walker.

Vlatka Horvat’s solo exhibition at Peer Gallery, ‘by hand, on foot’, brought together photographic work and installation work. Horvat’s practice sits at the intersection between our bodies and built environments, creating new boundaries and reimagining public spaces that we frequently navigate and move between. ‘To See Stars Over Mountains’ is a photographic project consisting of one photo a day for 365 days, whereby Horvat disrupts, dissects or rearranges architectural or natural features in the composition. No matter how big or small the interventions are, there’s a sense of playfulness and boundless possibilities to these small acts, which sometimes appear as proposals for public sculpture, and at other times distort what is physically possible. Horvat’s site-specific installation at Peer explores liminal spaces, by precariously placing cheap, commonplace materials so as to interrupt the gallery, probing at the rigidity of space and creating barriers so as to challenge the built spaces in which we move. Routine, object and boundaries repeatedly feature in Horvat’s work, placed within the context of the city (specifically London), and I’m intrigued by how the simplicity of these acts can feel profound and vast within the context of her work.

Vlatka Horvat.jpeg

 

What is on the Ground and What is in the Sky, Vlatka Horvat, 2022

Vlatka Horvat 2.jpeg

 

Embryology, Magdalena Abakanowicz, 1978-80

 

 

Land: a site of action

Having previously lived in the countryside for many years, I’ve become used to shifting between urban versus rural. Thinking about Walter Benjamin’s ‘double ground’ I have often considered the different terrains (and surface textures) on which we walk, and how they change between different environments. In the countryside, land can be seen as a constantly regenerating, life-giving source, that becomes engorged and famished with the seasons. Perhaps the greatest site of action of them all, absorbing all the good and bad that circulates across the globe, the land contains so much energy.

 

I was first introduced to Jesse Darling’s work through their solo exhibition, Enclosures, at Camden Arts Centre; an exploration into the vulnerability of life and society through an exploration into materials. Jesse considers clay ‘as a material formed from the architectural, ancestral, cultural and corporeal bodies of our material world,’ (28) whist considering the life-span of both lived and non-living entities, Darling asks the question: ‘what is allowed to live, what is allowed to die and what outlives us?’ (29) The clay ultimately coms from the ground and is returned to the ground, much like so much of the material detritus that is circulated around us. The presentation of the exhibition has a dystopian feel, with the exposed concrete, rebar, handprints, and meticulously placed bricks and markings all speak to a different world – one where nothing appears to be alive in the same way we’re used to. In the interview produced by Jared Schiller, Jesse describes the gallery as a space that has limits and enclosures. To me, the work feels like it’s trying to confront us with the ambiguousness of the ruin/city/manmade environment; both trapping us and encouraging us to leave at the same time.

Jesse Darling.jpeg

 

Enclosures (installation view), Jesse Darling, 2022

 

In ‘File Note 140’, an essay by Priya Jay written to accompany the exhibition, Priya talks about the sensation of being able to experience touch through the tongue, and that by looking at a material the tongue is able to understand a material, the same way our hands might. This suggests that this kind of tactile information can be passed invisibly, subconsciously, between two objects; it’s not about surface, and skin, and nerves. Maybe it’s actually about a message that is omitted from materials to a bodily function that is capable of feeling with such purpose. Maybe these messages are moving between us all the time.

 

In an excerpt from a letter to Devynn Emory in ‘Some days lately I touch a sense of peace’, Darling says ‘we are all part of everything – all these things coming to live and die in us’, (30) which makes me think of our bodies as a site where there’s a constant ebb and flow of cells dying and multiplying constantly, creating small vibrations, that in itself is energy. Bones Tan Jones’ text in ‘140 Artists’ ideas for Planet Earth’ also touches on the idea of ancestry within the Earth; ‘you are an ancestor in training and the moves you make now write the path for your descendants’ future. Breath for them, knowing that in the future they may call out to you for grounding guidance and heavenly aid.’ (31)

 

Richard Long’s practice is played out through two distinct actions; walking in nature and then arranging gathered materials in the gallery. Documenting his routes are an important part of his practice, and by revisiting the materials he has collected we’re able to see Long’s interpretation of that experience. It seems to me that the land as a site of action, for Long, is about the time-consuming nature of his interactions with nature, and the effect his presence has on the environment. He has often made sure of his absence within the work – take ‘A Line Made by Walking’ for example, which was a photograph of Long’s footprints in the grass – and so what we are left with more often are the traces of his actions; an occurrence after-the-fact.

Richard Long.jpeg

 

Walking a Line in Peru, Richard Long, 1972

References:

(5) Daniel Buren, The Function of the Studio, 1971 (p.83, The Studio, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(6) Daniel Buren, The Function of the Studio, 1971 (p.85, The Studio, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(7) Danièle Cohn, Introduction: Anselm Kiefer Studios, 2012 (p.9, Anselm Kiefer Studios by Danièle Cohn, translated by David Radzinowicz, published in the UK by Thames and Hudson Ltd).

(8) Philip Zarrilli, The Metaphysical Studio, 2002 (p.105, The Studio, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(9) Philip Zarrilli, The Metaphysical Studio, 2002 (p.106, The Studio, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(10) Philip Zarrilli, The Metaphysical Studio, 2002 (p.107, The Studio, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(11) Edgar Arceneaux, in conversation with Aimee Chang, 2003 (Essay by Aimee Chang for the Hammer Museum, January 2003, website: https://hammer.ucla.edu/exhibitions/2003/hammer-projects-edgar-arceneaux)

(12) Raisa Kabir, ‘Build me a loom off your back and your stomach…’ Weaving Performance, 2018 (blog post by Raisa Kabir, January 2018. Website: lids-sewn-shut.typepad.com/blog/Bangladesh)

(13) John Roberts, Skill and Deskilling in Art after the Readymade, 2007 (p.51 Craft, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery)

(14) T’ai Smith, The Event of a Thread, 2015 (p.80, Textiles: Open Letter, published by Sternberg Press)

(15) T’ai Smith, The Event of a Thread, 2015 (p.78, Textiles: Open Letter, published by Sternberg Press)

(16) Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 1957 (p.4)

(17) Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 1957 (p.5)

(18) Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 1957 (p.6)

(19) Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 1957 (p.5)

(20) Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, 2009 (viii)

(21) Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, 2009 (p.4)

(22) Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, 2009 (p.5)

(23) Yoshihara Jiro, The Gutai Manifesto, 1956

(24) Robert Pepperell, The Posthuman Conception of Consciousness: a 10-point Guide, 2000. (p.12 Art, Technology, Consciousness, published by Intellect Books)

(25) Robert Pepperell, The Posthuman Conception of Consciousness: a 10-point Guide, 2000. (p.13 Art, Technology, Consciousness, published by Intellect Books)

(26) Quote by Andreotti and Costa 1996 (p.2 Walking Inside Out, published by Rowman & Littlefield International)

  (27) Gareth E. Rees, Wooden Stones, 2015 (p.127, Walking Inside Out, published by Rowman & Littlefield International)

(28) Exhibition text, Camden Arts Centre, 2022 (Website: https://camdenartcentre.org/whats-on/jesse-darling-2)

(29) Exhibition text, Camden Arts Centre, 2022 (Website: https://camdenartcentre.org/whats-on/jesse-darling-2)

(30) Jessie Darling, ‘Some days lately I touch a sense of peace’, 2022 (p.11 File Note 140, published on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Enclosures’ by Jessie Darling at Camden Arts Centre, 2022)

(31) Bones Tan Jones (FKA Ayesha Tan Jones), No. 15, 2022. (140 Artists’ ideas for Planet Earth, published by Penguin for Serpentine Gallery, 2022)

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

The Studio, Documents on Contemporary Art, published by The MIT Press on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery

Anselm Kiefer Studios by Danièle Cohn, translated by David Radzinowicz, published in the UK by Thames and Hudson Ltd

Essay by Aimee Chang for the Hammer Museum, January 2003, website: https://hammer.ucla.edu/exhibitions/2003/hammer-projects-edgar-arceneaux

Blog post by Brigid Mclear, October 2021. Website: https://www.brigidmcleer.com/collateral/

Article by Nkgopoleng Moloi for Bubblegum Club, 2019. Website: https://bubblegumclub.co.za/art/umnqweno-silence-and-invisibility-are-made-loud-and-visible/

Blog post by Raisa Kabir, January 2018. Website: https://lids-sewn-shut.typepad.com/blog/Bangladesh

Textiles: Open Letter, by Rilke Frank and Grant Watson, 2015, published by Sternberg Press

World of Art: Art and Climate Change, 2020, by Maja and Reuben Fowkes, published by Thames & Hudson

Anni Albers: On Weaving, 2017, by Anni Albers, published by Princeton University Press (revised edition)

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/abakanowicz-embryology-t12958

Poetics of Space, Gaston Bacheldar, 1957, published by Beacon Press

https://parasol-unit.org/whats-on/heidi-bucher/

Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Jane Bennett, 2010, published by Duke University Press

The Gutai Manifesto, Yoshihara Jiro, 1956

Text by Alexandra Munroe, 2011. Website: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/lee-ufan-marking-infinity

Art, Technology, Consciousness, published by Intellect Books

To See Stars Over Mountains, publication for ‘by hand, on foot’ by Vlatka Horvat, published by Peer and Unstable Object, 2022

Website: https://camdenartcentre.org/whats-on/jesse-darling-2

Publication: File Note 140, published on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Enclosures’ by Jessie Darling at Camden Arts Centre, 2022

140 Artists’ ideas for Planet Earth, published by Penguin for Serpentine Gallery, 2022

 

 

 

Materiality through sustainability

It’s clear that sustainability and material ethics is something that has to be considered when making art now. Reclaiming, recycling, renewing; the idea of taking something that was destined for landfill and repurposing it is something that is now engrained in almost all production happening globally, as the idea of infinite resource has been replaced with a an  acceptance that much of life as we know it will be coming to an end if we don’t change the course we are currently on.

 

The fashion and garment industry is problematic in a myriad of ways. 60% of clothes are made using plastic-based materials, and when clothes are washed and dried the microplastics end up in our waterways, and eventually the ocean. On top of that, 20% of global wastewater comes from textile dyeing, with approximately 93 billion cubic meters of water consumed by the clothing industry each year. 85% of clothing made in America end up in landfills or being burned each year,  and the synthetic materials used in clothing production means that it’s hard to recycle them for other uses. The unhealthy and exploitative culture around clothing production and consumption means that textiles are one of the most ubiquitous, complex and loaded materials in the world. 

 

In ‘Return to Sender’ by The Nest Collective from Kenya, a video titled ‘Delivery Details’ is projected into an installation made up of large bundles of garments, forming a dystopian shelter. Positioned in front of the grandeur of Kassel’s Orangerie building as part of Documenta Fifteen, the video explains the problematic second-hand clothing market in Kenya, whereby Western countries are sending their waste clothing under the guise of a charitable gesture. However, many of the clothes are too poor quality to be worn and not only is it causing a huge waste problem in Kenya, and across Africa, but it’s negatively impacting companies who make and sell clothes in those countries too. In the film, they also talk about the issue of dignity; where people want to feel proud in what they wear as an extension of themselves and their identity. The poor quality of the clothes being sent to them is undermining this. In the breaking down of a material that is so loaded with political, societal and moral complexities, I’m also metaphorically breaking down these material and cultural hierarchies. What can this exploration into materiality teach us about the sustainability when looking at the long-term?

The Nest Collective, Return to Sender, Documenta Fifteen.jpeg

 

Return to Sender, The Nest Collective (at Documenta Fifteen), 2022

 

‘The rapid reformation of cause and effect, means and end, and quality and quantity requires a new approach to the world which is not governed by postmodern discourse but by material interconnections and processes.’ (32)

 

Whilst I’ve been thinking about an invisible movement of organic and inorganic matter through and within our built and material environments, I’ve become interested in the idea of the dissipation of our lithosphere; the idea that the solid outer of planet Earth is slowly vanishing. In my process, I think a lot about making things smaller – a systematic , gradual breaking down. Disassembling the garments into individual panels, removing the seams, cutting the fabric into strips, and eventually into this kind of crumb; each stage feels like a new wave of material interaction, and each action that is performed feels different in the hand. I think then what I’m trying to do, in re-building the material, is suggest a way that things can break away and then come back together. Perhaps it’s like a gravitational pull; an invisible energy that pulls it together again.

 

Michael Landy, in his seminal performance work ‘Break Down’ fought against our human desire to creating and own things, and systematically destroyed all his 7,227 possessions in a replica materials reclamation facility, installed in an empty shop on Oxford Street. The items were catalogued, separated, placed in plastic trays, and conveyed through the space, until eventually shredded. Whilst Landy himself didn’t seem phased by this, people who came to witness the even often found it difficult to comprehend items of great sentimental value to be treated in such a way. Similarly, all items, no matter how meaningless or highly valued, were all given the same treatment, which saw the breaking down of all material hierarchies within the space. Ironically, the only possession Landy was left with was a blue overall; the kind you might expect to see worn in a factory or building site. Whilst the work did criticise consumerism and Capitalist values, Lingwood (who commissioned the work on behalf of Artangel) described it as ‘something a bit more complex – about the relationship between who we are and what we possess and desire. Of course, Break Down was about Western society’s obsession with stuff and ownership. But it was also about a more existential question, which was: who am I?’ (33)

Screenshot 2022-11-15 at 18.32.22.png

 

Breaking Down, Michael Landy, 2001

 

‘The toughest furrow to plough amid all this has been to start from something like scratch: assay the unpredictable physics of raw materials, bend them to one’s will, improvise and think through them.’ (34)

 

In Peter Buggenhout’s solo exhibition at Holtermann Gallery in London, presented are a series of sculptures that are equally boisterous and delicate, featuring a host of conventional and unconventional materials such as marble, acrylic, tape, foam, dish cloths, plaster, plastic bottles and animal skins. The bringing together of all these materials into their sculptural forms breaks down typical material hierarchies in a chaotic ensemble of seemingly disparate objects. In the exhibition text, Dr Jon Wood writes: ‘One of the important ideas of these materials and his treatment of them is indifference. Stuff doesn’t give us a second thought – it doesn’t love us – and there is no point in projecting our fantasies of longing onto its skins and structures.’ (35) Buggenhout appears to see the material world and human world as totally separate, and he’s not interested in showing traces of the maker’s hand in his constructions. Instead, his work is about materiality in and of itself – independent of us. And in bringing together these objects and materials, they become dependent on one another, separate from us.

Peter Buggenhout.jpeg

 

On Hold (installation view), Peter Buggenhout, 2022

 

In ‘Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual)’, Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan describe the mud of the Earth’s surface as ‘the dispersal and dissipation of natural and artificial compounds, materials, and energies.' The flow that constitutes the coming together of these elements is constantly being disrupted and re-directed, and this volatility is what underpins the Anthropocene (thus sparking a need for a distinction between the Holocene and Anthropocene).

 

In ‘Grains, Vapor, Ray’, Grain is described as ‘the movement of the particular or granular’, vapor is described as ‘the phase change and dispersal of the vaporous’ and ray is described as ‘the energetic flux of the radiant’ (37) Applying these terms as ‘activities’, as opposed to the things themselves, Sepahvand, Rosol and Klingan attempt to make sense of our own being-in-the-world through this series of transformations, shifts and evolutions. In particular, the sensual characteristics of these three words offer something not quite graspable, and a sense of unbalance that is inherent in the Anthropocene: ‘the procedures of stability-giving and stability-taking’. (38)

 

I’m particularly interested in how I can apply these three ideas in my own work: the grain, ‘the constant flow, circulation, and trans-location of myriad granulized bits […] distances itself from a clear demarcation of boundaries’, (39) reflects the clothing, objects that have been made, worn and discarded, used and disused; the vapor ‘frees itself, flowing up, across, between […] which simultaneously involves matter and energy conversation, solidity disintegrates,’ (40) which I see as evoking the process of breaking the material up into tiny pieces whereby the body undertakes this bodily processes and in turn frees the material from garment to matter; and ray, ‘visible light, magnetic forces, or blazing heat, bodies and things are constantly interacting with, producing, channelling, and responding within such energetic fields’. (41) Here I think about the forms within the work, as a result of this culmination of energies, and that becomes its own force, no longer reliant on my body or the cycle of process, but carrying with it its own language, own histories, and own relationship to the material world. And in a circular narrative, the sculptures arrive back at grain again, as the accumulation of something into a larger form, where the vapor is also indicative of all the in-betweenness of this process.

 

To renounce immortality may be the creed of today’s artist […] the fragility of the materials, that sense of contingency that, from a collage to paper cutouts, from detritus to scraps is peculiar to modern art, forgoing the ‘undesired’ eternity of the work of art, it’s re-absorbtion into the historical moment, its not wanting to resist time. The poly-material compositions […] wish to be no more than a conscious renunciation of immortality, of the privilege of art.’ (42)

 

As I’ve already established land as a site of action, I think it’s also interesting to consider land as a reusable resource. In Kenneth Anders’ essay ‘Principles of Self-Preservation in the Age of Populism’ from 2016, Anders argues the term ‘resource’ is often mis-placed, and often times ‘source’ is more apt: ‘A resource can only be talked about in terms of a system that self-perpetuates by being managed.’ (43) The Rural, Documents on Contemporary Craft) Materials that are consumed and used should be instead considered a source, and this can be applied to both the materials taken from the ground (coal, oil, metals) as well as the recycling of materials. ‘After use, it must be re-constituted,’ (44) and the question is about use and used up – the idea of an end point to the material.

 

To me, I didn’t want any one artwork to be considered the end. And with experimentation, trial, error and play being such crucial components of the creative and making process, it’s inappropriate to consider anything made as a ‘forever’ object, so being able to re-hydrate and thus ‘re-activate’ the materials in my work has been key for me when thinking about sustainability. The metal armatures can be re-bent and re-formed, and the material can once again be applied and used to mould by hand, creating a cyclical, sustainable process. The material is a resource, that can be used again and again, without being ‘used up’.

 

Much of these simple processes are really about finding value in the analogue, instead of the automated, and the slow instead of the efficient; where by body is the source of energy, and I am my own renewable energy source. This really pushes against the tendency in modern society to lean into the digital, especially in a world where technology advances are gaining pace faster and faster. How do we maintain materiality in a digitised and automated world? How do we address sustainability in a space where so many interactions, networks, and energies are invisible? How do we ground our bodies in a physical space and maintain a connection to our natural world?

 

‘The urge to keep pace with fast innovation cycles chiming for higher efficient in resources, energy consumption, production processes, life cycles, or waste reduction lads to new approaches in material thinking. Like soft matter, emergent materials are not static anymore, they can adapt to changing conditions, change shape or consistency, generate electricity or form multifunctional hybrids. Materials are transforming from a static substance into a flexible system of functional components.’ (45) 

 

In the Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, Mark Lecky thinks about the materiality of new technology and how non-living objects become animate, and how ‘things’ can co-exist, between the digital and the material world. ‘Approaching any object or animal, anything that is not human, you have to establish a relationship of mutual respect and reciprocation. By doing this, you mimic that object. You pretend to be it in order to inhabit it. A good impersonator is seen as “getting under the skin” of their target.’ (46) Lecky’s work is situated in a moment of change, and brings together artists who make objects alongside social artefacts, which ‘transform, or transcend their object-hood’. (47)

 

How do objects in the physical world and virtual world exist together? And are they co-dependent? How do these material and electric energies intermingle, navigate or live symbiotically with one another? Craft and tactile gestures appear more and more like a defiant act against the backdrop of automated technologies, and it seems that fiber and textiles art is just as radical now as it was in the '60s (when it was an act of empowerment for women and LGBTQIA+ artists). Art is still a place where people can escape the tedium of the everyday, whilst also magnifying it, and so here's where the collision of the analogue versus digital, the imposing versus the invisible, the tactile versus the non-material and the organic versus the inorganic can take place.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 23.19.04.png

 

The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, Mark Lecky, 2013

 

 

References:

(32) Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.3, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(33) James Lingwood, The man who destroyed all his belongings by Alastair Sooke, 2016 (Website:: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160713-michael-landy-the-man-who-destroyed-all-his-belongings, 2016)

(34) Martin Herbert, The Broken Arm: Making, Unmaking, Remaking Sculpture, 2013 (p.11, Thinking is Making: Presence and Absence in Contemporary Sculpture by

the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, 2013)

(35) Jon Wood, Peter Buggenhout, 2022 (exhibition text by Jon Wood, 2022)

(36) Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.26, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(37) Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.40, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(38) Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.40, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(39) Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.40, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(40) Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.41, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(41) Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol and Katrin Klingan, Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), 2014 (p.41, Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press)

(42) Lina Bo Bardi and Martim Gonçalves, Bahia in Ibirapuera, 1994, (p.39 in The Rural: Documents on Contemporary Art, The MIT Press for Whitechapel Gallery)

(43) Kenneth Anders, Principles of Self-Preservation in the Age of Populism, 2016 (p.146, The Rural, Documents on Contemporary Craft, The MIT Press for Whitechapel Gallery)

(44) Kenneth Anders, Principles of Self-Preservation in the Age of Populism, 2016 (p.146, The Rural, Documents on Contemporary Craft, The MIT Press for Whitechapel Gallery)

(45) Christiane Sauer, Soft Matter, 2011  (p.41. Sculpture Unlimited 2, Sternberg Press)

(46) Mark Lecky, Beyond Add, 2011 (p.22. Sculpture Unlimited 2, Sternberg Press)

(47) Mark Lecky, Kathy Noble in conversation with Mark Leckey, 2013 (exhibition publication for The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things by Mark Lecky at Nottingham Contemporary, 2013)

 

 

 

Bibliography:

Website: https://earth.org/fast-fashion-facts/

Website: https://documenta-fifteen.de/en/lumbung-members-artists/the-nest-collective/

Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (manual), published by The MIT Press

Website:: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160713-michael-landy-the-man-who-destroyed-all-his-belongings, 2016

Thinking is Making: Presence and Absence in Contemporary Sculpture by the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, 2013

Website: https://www.holtermannfineart.com/exhibitions/2022/5/6/peter-buggenhout-on-hold-1305-to-23072022

Rural: Documents on Contemporary Art, The MIT Press for Whitechapel Gallery

Sculpture Unlimited 2, 2015,  Eva Grubinger and Jorg Heiser, Sternberg Press

World of Art: Art and Climate Change  by Maja and Reuben Fowkes 2020, published by Thames & Hudson

140 Artists' Ideas for Planet Earth, 2022, Edited by Hans Ulrich ObristKostas Stasinopoulos, published by Penguin

Website: https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/whats-on/the-universal-addressability-of-dumb-things-curated-by-mark-leckey/