Entangled: Threads & Making at the Turner Contemporary Margate

Entangled: Threads & Making at the Turner Contemporary in Margate 

28th Jan – 7th May 2017

Image below: Title: Margate Knot, Artist: Anna Ray who collaborated with a group of local woman from Margate to construct this piece.Entangled at Turner Contemporary

Entangled: Threads & Making is a major exhibition of sculpture, installation, tapestry, textiles and jewellery from the mid-20th century to the present day. It features over 40 international female artists who challenge established categories of craft, design, and fine art.

 Karen Wright curated this show with the aim of tracing the impact of older generation woman artists on today’s female artists. It includes works by so many good woman artists and culminates in a rich and diverse exhibition with a focus on textile media.  I was revisiting pieces by mid century artists like Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and Sonia Delaunay to name just a few of the 40 international artists being shown here. There is also work to see and engage with by contemporary emerging and more established artists.

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Aiko Tezuka who has not exhibited in UK before and who’s work involves both notions of undoing and doing. She traces history itself is the inspiration for her work in that the undoing of the woven fabric points toward looking back in history in order to make a work afresh. Much of her work involves unpicking the fabric’s she chooses to work with and then revealing the warp and weft pointing at what has gone before while producing spectacular unexpected innovative works. If you want to know more about her work here is a link: http://www.aikotezuka.com/ .  Also you can check out my archives for an interview I did with Aiko when she was working in London some years ago. 

IMG_0142I am surprised at the all woman line up as a criteria for the exhibition.There are for sure many men who work with traditional thread based materials in the contemporary art world. Think Grayson Perry or Yinka Shonibare close to home or further afield El Anatsui from Ghana, and Rauschenberg currently on show at the Tate Modern.  I cannot comment with certainty on the historical evidence of men’s artistic practise particular to thread in the art world but was it not men who invented knitting after having crafted fishing nets? Maybe we should drop the gender oriented exhibitions and just concentrate on the art work? Could it be said that thread is as versatile if not more so in the making of art than painting or photography and has inherently as many if not more possibilities for expression? 

I was delighted to see a piece in the show by Judith Scott. I first encountered her works in a very memorable exhibition organised by the Museum of Everything in 2012 while the Museum was residing at Selfridges in the then vast space upstairs above the shop. http://www.musevery.com/ In my view Judith Scott’s work was the most outstanding boundless and expressive work in this show. My only small criticism of this exhibition is that I would have liked to see more boundless and experimental even shocking works and less of the mannered works prevailing but that is a purely personal opinion.

Entangled: Threads & Making is well worth the trip to Margate it offers a rich and diverse view of textiles used in the context of art over the last half century. I much recommend it.  Judith Scott

 

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