Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cultex: Textile as a cross-cultural language

Cultex is being shown at The Hub, Sleaford, until 18th April. Having seen the exhibition in the setting for which the work was designed I was intrigued to see how it would translate in this very different setting.
The answer is generally very well, the large exhibition hall has been sub-divided to create a series of 'room' spaces that flow in a similar way to the rooms at Gallerie F15.
I was particularly delighted to see Anniken Amundsen's 'Mutant Clusters' and 'Shuffled Nature' occupying the same space (above left & right), the graphic qualities of one complimenting the organic qualities of the other.
Yuka Kawai's elegant explorations of space, internal and external, invite the viewer to walk around them and contemplate them from all possible angles. Seeing some of the pieces back-lit, courtesy of the single window, added to the visible depth of the work without destroying the mystery and wonder.
Eva Schjolberg's extremely long piece of sculptural pleating had not travelled from the Norwegian venue but we are treated instead to an installation of nine, shorter, arcs. Referencing the crystals in snow and ice these pieces respond well to being crisply lit in a room with substantially darker walls than the rest.
Gabriella Goransson's primordial forms are laid out in a different format here, but that is one of the beauties of working in smaller modules which offer almost infinite variation of display combinations. Their natural earthy colour and texture offer an excellent contrast to the white nylon of Kiyonori Shimada's all enveloping walls of waves. One thing that the two share is the importance of shadows within the work. It was noticeable, as the day wore on, how the soft winter sunlight produced a slight yellow cast on the white fabric and the shadows within the undulations became almost ghostly. As in Norway I was very taken with the multiple shadows that had been created within Gabriella's work (above).
My only real disappointment was with Machiko Agano and Anniken Amundsen's Greenhouse installation. As stands it is a very nice piece but it is not as stunning as it was in Norway. This was always likely to be the case as it's previous location had allowed for a taller greenhouse where Machico's sculptural pieces had more room to twist and turn and in so doing reflect the light and surrounding gardens in their mirrored surfaces. This is a small price to pay for bringing such a wonderful exhibition to a much wider audience. I look forward to seeing it again in Rugby (22nd June to 22nd August).