Nice day out with my fellow City and Guilds students to a couple of North London galleries. First up was the William Morris Gallery, which was showing an exhibition by Alke Schmidt: Tangled Yarns, exploring he politics and morality of the cotton trade.
Pretty challenging subject matter, but well presented and offers a slightly ambiguous perspective on the contradictions of the textile industry from the 18th century to the present day. Some photographic highlights:
I rally liked the idea of using a textile backdrop as a canvas – this reminds me of the work I was doing during the spring as part of my portfolio preparation. Would be good to revisit these ideas.
After a lovely cuppa and a mince pie, we wandered over to the Whitechapel Gallery to see the Richard Tuttle exhibition. Very contrasting!! From the interesting, provocative work of Schmidt with a clear narrative and strong political message we were all pretty dumbfounded by the Tuttle display. I didn’t follow it – and found myself unable to comprehend or connect with any of the work. It was very much in what I would box as fine art made only for peers – I think you really needed to be part of the art establishment to have a clue what on earth it was all for. There was no craftsmanship on display, and I struggled to see the connection to textiles, language or weaving. What was I supposed to interpret from a piece of dyed fabric hung on the wall? I tried very hard to engage with the pieces but sadly to no avail.
What I did find interesting instead of the pieces themselves, were some of the poems and expressions around textiles which went with the exhibition. Although I found these did not relate in any way to the pieces on display, as a piece of poetry in and of themselves some were rather good. Some words below which I picked out that I particularly liked.
“Wood, the struggle. Cloth the grace
Picture the human condition and reprieve
Paint is drawing minus the reprieve
A tight weave holding excess
Argue for the little known fact
Architecture in fluid
Each element wasted
Any topology, a sculpture in a light source”
“Just as a series of single threads are woven to form a textile, words are interlaced to form sentences and meanin. Both textile and language can give clarity to out understanding of the world.”