Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fabric of Myth

Fabric of Myth at Compton Verney. A wide range of artworks are on display from pre-Raphaelite drawings to contemporary machine stitched pieces by Alice Kettle.
Michele Walker - Memoriam. Looking like a classic quilt made from pieced leather with a lambs wool 'fringe' closer inspection reveals a very different truth. The 'leather' is stitched plastic designed to look like the patterning of the skin on the back of the hand and the soft fringe is made from highly abrasive wire wool. The quilt is not intended to be the traditional comforter that is handed down through a family to keep memories alive. It is a testament to the loss of memory suffered by the artists' mother and her battle with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's Disease. A very thought provoking piece.
Loenid Tishkov - Divers from Heaven. I loved this installation, infinitely variable in scale, the faces nestling in their fabric cocoons seemed like fragile memories in need of careful protection. One of the highlights of the exhibition was being invited by the attendant to unwrap, and re-wrap, the handling piece. This experience gave a wonderful sense of being a part of the creative process. The display has a sense of the spermatozoa race about it but the title tends to lead towards the idea of mans race towards the heavens. I was also very taken by Tishkovs' piece The Knitling, a part of which is a video of his mother ripping up old clothes to make strips of fabric which she crochets into a new form. This is based on a local tradition in which memories of family members are kept alive by the reuse of their old clothes and through which they are called upon to protect the user.
Arthur Bispo do Rosario - Presentation Cape. The Brazilian made it his mission to embroider this cape as a record of all of the things that he considered to be worth redeeming on Judgement Day. It is embroidered on the inside with the names of friends and acquaintances and the outside is covered with pictures of the items of his everyday life, from chequers board to trolley, broom to dominoes.
This was a fascinating exhibition with wide ranging ideas and it was the thinking behind the pieces that interested me more than the individual items on show.

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