Tuesday, April 21, 2009

continuing the blog but not the bog of yesterday

Shinique Smith's "Good Knot" exhibition was shown at the Yvon Lambert gallery in London, UK last December. I was interested in press release which announces that the ways in which she uses twine, ribbon, and string attempts to compress the lives of the objects she ties together—clothing, textiles, shoes, stuffed toys, and other materials often overlooked within the canons of high art and culture. It appears that some of these materials may also have sentimental value for the artist, who has spoken of taking elements such as sheets or handtowels from her grandmother’s house in Baltimore, USA. Perhaps she will speak about these experiences in her lecture tomorrow? I observe from the images of her work that, Smith’s bundles range in scale from human-sized towers to smaller and more portable assemblages. The assemblage gathering connects to yesterday's citation of Sze and Wilkes. Does anyone agree?

Quoting the Lambert gallery press release, "The sculptures reflect on the economies of excess and need within objects from 'everyday' life". Do people agree with this? According to Michel de Certeau, everyday life is distinctive from other practices of daily existence because it is repetitive and unconscious. His most well-known and influential work in the United States has been 'The Practice of Everyday Life' in which he develops a theory of the productive and consumptive activity inherent in everyday life. de Certeau makes the claim that, "everyday life works by a process of poaching on the territory of others, recombining the rules and products that already exist in culture in a way that is influenced, but never wholly determined by societal rules and products".

This got me thinking about the themes of the lecture series and the blog. If there are art works, like Smith's, that refer to 'everyday' life, how conscious are 'we' in our making of poaching and raiding the territories of other practices, like craft to shift the rules of what can be overlooked?

Returning to Smith's ' Bale Variants' series of works, do they refer to the inequities of a global economy? How far does the throwaway clothing from First World countries shipped in bales to the Third World countries, make a political statement?. How readable is this? What kinds of knowledge production might we need in order to decode the message or is it obvious to all?

Is it possible to say that there is an aesthetic combination which results in a controlled chaos in Smith’s work?

1 comment:

  1. I think "controlled chaos" is a lovely way of putting it...I think it's exciting to consider the possibility of re-framing the everyday and the overlooked so that it is spectacular and somehow transformed while still connected to the textures of everyday life...an evolution of material very connected to the poetic possibilities of poaching and transforming that implies all materials are in some way "poached", "bought", "cast-off", "re-used" and loaded with personal associations...