Turner Contemporary puts making and materiality centre stage in a new exhibition. Entangled: Threads & Making is a major exhibition of sculpture, installation, tapestry, textiles and jewellery from the early 20th century to the present day. It features over 40 international female artists who expand the possibilities of knitting and embroidery, weaving, sewing, and wood carving, often incorporating unexpected materials such as plants, clothing, hair and bird quills.
Entangled: Threads & Making is curated by writer and critic Karen Wright, with Turner Contemporary. Wright became fascinated by the making processes she saw first-hand on the many studio visits she did with artists for her ‘In the Studio’ column for the Independent. The idea for Entangled: Threads & Making evolved out of these visits, in particular, one with renowned American artist Kiki Smith who was working on her epic tapestry Sky (2012).
Grounded in the work of 20th century pioneers of textiles, fashion and handcrafted practice, such as Anni Albers, Louise Bourgeois, Sonia Delaunay, Eva Hesse and Hannah Ryggen, the exhibition will trace their impact on younger generations of artists who incorporate similar materials and processes into their work, as well as bringing together 8 new works, created especially for the show. Entangled: Threads & Making aims to reveal and celebrate the compulsion to make which lies at the heart of many of these artists’ diverse and varied practices.
20th-century weavers Anni Albers and Hannah Ryggen, who elevated tapestry to the status of art, will be shown alongside contemporary artists such as Ann Cathrin November Høibo, who uses a loom to create abstract works incorporating natural and synthetic materials found on her travels. November Høibo is one of a number of artists who have made new work for Entangled: Threads & Making. Ursula von Rydinsgvard’s Thread Terror, specially commissioned for the exhibition, is a large sculpture in cedar, carved by the artist to suggest thick thread or reams of fabric. Christiane Löhr creates delicate sculptures made of seeds, tree blossoms and plant matter. For Entangled, Lohr will create a new work made from a column of horsehair that will span the height of the gallery.
Both Eva Hesse and Susan Hiller began their careers as painters but went on to make experimental, handmade sculptures in the 1960s and 70s using the language of minimal and conceptual art. Entangled: Threads & Making includes a series of Hesse’s fragile forms in cheesecloth (No Title, 1969) alongside Hiller’s Painting Blocks (1974/75) – recycled canvases cut up and sewn together to form sculptural blocks. Sonia Gomes draws on the traditions of indigenous cultures in her native Brazil for her colourful, abstract sculptures made by binding different fabrics around the wire, whilst Phyllida Barlow recycles bits of timber, plywood and other discarded or everyday materials to create her brightly painted assemblages such as Untitled: Broken Shelf (2015).
A costume for the ballet designed by Sonia Delauney in 1918 is shown in dialogue with contemporary artists Aiko Tezuka, Arna Óttarsdóttir and Maria Papadimitriou who work in different ways with clothing and textiles, the latter producing garments for or with others, as in her collection of Roma coats included in the exhibition. Finally, a new interactive commission from Paolo Anziche will take the form of a group of suspended tubes in raffia, wool, jute and other natural fibres, inviting us to walk through and within the sculptures, literally getting inside her chosen materials and providing an immersive exit from the show.
A new publication accompanies the exhibition, with essays and interviews by Ann Coxon, Stina Hogkvist, Siri Husvedt, Kathryn Lloyd, Rosa Martinez, Marit Paasche, Frances Morris and Karen Wright. Available from the Turner Contemporary shop.
Karen Wright, Curator says: “When we first set out to create Entangled: Threads & Making, over 3 years ago, I was initially overwhelmed by how many artists wanted to take part in the show. It gave the idea currency, at a time when little had been done in investigating this area both in terms of gender, but also in terms of materials. For me, the show is an opportunity to re- evaluate the political status of women in the marketplace as well as the way that they use materials and express their concerns.”
Sarah Martin, Head of Exhibitions at Turner Contemporary says: “Entangled: Threads & Making promises to be a rich show with a diverse range of artists. A number of new works have been made – and are still being made – for the exhibition and the positioning of these in dialogue with each other, and with 20th-century pioneers will make for new and intriguing parallels. Whilst they all have ‘making’ in common, they explore it in entirely different ways.”
List of artists
Caroline Achaintre, Anni Albers, Ghada Amer, Paola Anziché, Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter Phyllida Barlow, Marion Baruch ,Karla Black, Margrét H. Blöndal, Regina Bogat, Louise Bourgeois, Geta Brătescu, Sonia Delaunay, Laura Ford, Brit Fuglevaag, Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Sonia Gomes, Eva Hesse, Mona Hatoum, Sheila Hicks, Susan Hiller, Maureen Hodge, Ann Cathrin November Høibo Christiane Löhr, Kate MccGwire, Annette Messager, Rivane Neuenschwander, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Arna Óttarsdóttir, Maria Papadimitriou, Sidsel Paaske, Anna Ray, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Hannah Ryggen, Maria Roosen, Betye Saar
Image: Karla Black What To Ask Of Others, 2011 Courtesy the artist, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (Italy) and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne Photo: C. Dario Lasagni.
Entangled: Threads & Making, 28 January – 7 May 2017 Turner Contemporary, Margate