3 February – 14 April 2014
This show broadly focuses on fabric not only in the sense of textiles but also as in the texture of reality and phenomena. Fabric (in the sense of cloth) can be used as a signifier, associated with social class and history, or as in the case of military uniforms or decorations as an indicator of rank, achievement, or valour. Fabric broadly speaking also includes the ‘fabric of the universe’, things we cannot see and the materials that are used to capture/isolate them. Fabric may be explored in relation to the Kantian notion of the thing-in-itself. Although we cannot see things apart from the way we do in fact see them, we can think them apart from our mode of perception, thus making the thing-in-itself a kind of independent object or object of thought/intellect. In this way we can use fabric as a starting point for work through which we can explore the very nature of existence, matter and reality.
Have a look at pictures from the exhibition in our online gallery.
Arif Bahaduri (Afghanistan). Bahaduri’s art focuses on the suffering and genocide of his people the Hazara, as well as the history of conflict in Afghanistan. Primarily through drawing and painting and material associations with wounds he explores the depth of suffering and pain associated with this tumultuous history. His recent contribution for the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize takes these concerns into the realm of performance, utilising small fabric bandages to create tortured self-manipulations. Mani Arif lives and works in Kabul Afganistan.
The work for the show is a series of prints from Arif Bahaduri’s performance Incurable Wound at the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize in November 2013, where he covered his face in fabric plasters.
Performance: Arif Bahradu
With help from (photography) and Janne Malmros (editing)
Series of 5 C-type prints
Michael Delacruz (USA). Though often political in concept, Delacruz’s work also explores issues of material and surface, using different materials like Formica or copper or encaustic to give these works a tactile, almost post-minimal sensibility. By exploiting the use of alternative abstract vocabularies, his works attempt to blur the line between nation-state power/protection and metaphysical redemption. Michael lives and works in London and Kabul.
Nova Capitolina visually references elements of Axis military uniforms of World War Two and, in the use of scored encaustic, a series of abstract works based on the Christ of the Esquipulas by Francesco Clemente (1988) itself an interpretation of a colonial-era relic of the flagellated Christ. The title itself is bears reference to the name given to Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina, following its destruction by the Romans in AD 70. The work serves point of intersection for the themes of military conquest and religious salvation. In an acknowledgement of the decade-long protraction of the so-called ‘War on Terror’, Mobilisation Three is an interpretation of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Medal and denotes the multiple combat rotations required by reserve force personnel to support the war effort (in the is case ‘3’).
Nova Capitolina (2007 : 2014)
Oil and encaustic on canvas; acrylic and polyurethane on wood
Mobilisation Three (Forces Reserve) (2014)
Oil, graphite, and polyurethane on corroded steel, copper, and wood
Dave Ball (Wales). Ball is interested in absurdity, and the visual and conceptual potentialities of working against common sense. By positing alternative worlds, his works attempt to critically reflect on the logic of the world we conventionally inhabit. Their absurd premises act as mirrors onto our own (non-absurd) reality, highlighting its arbitrariness, and ultimately offering the possibility of re-imagining our world configured differently. Ball lives and works in Berlin and Wales.
The primary system of social classification used in the UK is the NS-SEC (the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification) which was developed by the Office for National Statistics in 2001. Essentially a measure of employment relations and conditions of occupations, the classification is designed to show the structure of socio-economic positions in modern society.
Babies Eating Lemons is a series of eight drawings based on videos of toddlers sourced on the internet, each of which is made to correspond to a different position on the NS-SEC scale. Whilst sociologists acknowledge socio-economic class to be a powerful determinant of life chances and a strong predictor of health, educational and other outcomes, the "analysis" performed here by the artist is deliberately spurious. The babies in these anonymous videos have been arbitrarily assigned a social class, based on little more than the clothes they are wearing.
Babies Eating Lemons(2014)
Series of 8 drawings
Nasir Hashimi (Afghanistan). Hashimi is a filmmaker. His work often focuses on the current situation in Afghanistan. Death to Freedom suggests the way in which money may change hands in Afghanistan through symbolically representing different strata of Afghan society through the varying forms of headgear native to the country. Nasir recently won the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize. He lives and works in Kabul.
Death to Freedom (2012)
Stop frame animation film
James Irwin (England) Irwin’s work investigates the relationship between physical and digital realities taking on many different forms and spanning different media. Treating the digital as an integral part of reality his practice often operates in reverse, creating physical translations of digital phenomena. By translating digital operations and algorithms into visual patterns and forms he bridges these realms through the creation of concrete artefacts. Irwin lives and works in London.
Klein Divide is a digitally rendered journey through a Klein bottle: a topological form that has no distinct inside or outside and can only be properly represented theoretically. Within the work, the Klein bottle is used as a motif for exploring digital reality. What defines the divide between the physical and digital worlds, and how can this separation be bridged? The three prints are taken from a series of images generated to explore digital colour space. The images are the output of a custom-built computer program designed to test the 16,777,216 unique colours of the RGB spectrum.
Klein Divide (2014)
Mixed media sound installation.
Janne Malmros (Denmark) Janne Malmros’work is characterised by strong interests in botany, entomology, geometry, history, folklore and pattern. Malmros takes an investigative and actively experimental approach when developing her installations, where the choice of materials is informed by research to support the underlying concept of each individual project. Janne lives and works between Kabul, Copenhagen and London.
The work for the show used found fabric to explore textile as a referent laden with alternative meanings. These alternatives are provoked through the subversion of the fabric’s typical use. The Human Beings, for example, turns a necktie into a Native American headdress. These works play on language and association carried by textiles to incite reflection into the way in which clothes/fabric is used to indicate who we are. One the Make/Spoiler, juxtaposing the spoiler of formula race car and a young girl’s minidress, is perhaps a memorial to a relationship between a girl and her boy racer – a car crash right there on the floor?
The Human Beings(2013)
One the Make/Spoiler (2013)
Cut and rearranged 60s mini dress, sugar and F1 spoiler.
Masako Suzuki (Japan). Masako Suzuki primarily works with paintings, collages, and mural installations with an underlying interests in how we really ‘see’ three-dimensional space. She is interested in the way in which we apprehend the external world. For the exhibition ‘Fabric’, Masako has swapped paint for thread and found Japanese fabrics and the brush for a needle. An approach she took in order to imagine what and how one would ‘paint’ if one were in an environment where fabrics were more accessible materials than paint and paintbrushes. Masako lives and work in Tokyo.
Untitled is a set of three individual works ‘painted’ with needle, thread and found Japanese fabric. In Masako Suzuki’s own words these works question: ‘what painting is and what makes painting art’. Fabrics from Japanese mass culture are hand stitched together to create geometric patterns that she has designed. The kitsch materials that already have patterns were cut out and re-structured. The designed pattern has reference to the traditional quilt, mosaic, and kimono that also informs her general abstract painting. She attempts to reveal the invisible common structure in different visual/cultural formats that underlie their appearance.
Fabric and thread
Phoebe Unwin (England). Unwin references and explores a world we all experience visually, verbally and sensationally: a figure infects and affects its space, as if thoughts are made into things; a grubby patterned Underground seat blocks a view; the shape of a head is formed by a uniformed edge of toothpaste-like stripes; pictures of notepaper become a layered collected mass of white on whites. She lives and works in London.
The work for the fabric show is made on mattress ticking fabric, which is not a classic painting surface but one which brings with it other associations. This way the fabric adds another layer, or substory, to the painting than that of the blank canvas as the mattress fabric itself is loaded with potential histories that remain untold, but leave much to the imagination.
Two Picnics (2012)
Mattress ticking fabric, Indian ink, graphite and acrylic medium