There are some people – artists – who are the reason why I am in the field of contemporary arts. Artists who have inspired, instigated and informed my practice, creativity and well, my existence! After all, art is life…
One of these people is Ann Hamilton, more specifically her work ‘Tropos’ (1993-4)…an installation where the artist burned away words from a book, line by line as they were read aloud. It captivated me…fuelled a teenage wordgirl and my linguistic mind…further realising my interest in language, text and books could be contemporary art in itself. Cue my undergraduate dissertation ‘Read me (be me): A study justifying text as art and its reliance on human interaction’.
Recently, my worlds collided as Hamilton created a site specific installation in China – ‘Again, Still, Yet,’ (2016) for Art Wuzhen. The site-specific installation features a loom being worked by a local woman on the stage of an old theatre in the West Scenic Zone area, linking to the town’s historic textile industry.
‘Intimacy and warmth…the makers hands are so wise…how do these early technologies still come forward in time and how does it have relevance to where we are now? Working with an opera theatre and its history of voice…interested in the structure of the loom and the relationship in the theatre of the audience and the performer. The audience is the structure for the making of the weaving…the thread is like life…as it comes forward and they gather it becomes more and more tangible…the collective power of that. The motion of the weaver moving back and forth becomes the rhythm and the voice of the work. The world of illusion and the world of the theatre meet in the daytime.’
“It’s about making and unmaking.” – Ann Hamilton
‘The threads on the bobbins in the seats were dyed a uniform red to match the seat – a significant colour in China with all sorts of social and political connotations – and the artist says, “If you think of each one as a body that is absent, the thread is given to the performer and the performer is taking it from that space…The work has different layers, but everything is about the crossing, between the light and the dark, the collective and the singular action. But it also asks that question: what is the place of these traditional processes in a technologically-extended world.’ [Taken from Blouinartinfo article]
I wish I had the chance to see this installation…to be consumed by its delicacies and tensions…to follow the strings to the weaving source…to get lost in the rhythm and the bell…to connect myself to another space, another world.
Art Wuzhen is on show until 26 June 2016.