Thursday, 27 November 2008

'Cloth and Culture Now'

‘Cloth and Culture Now’. The Sainsbury’s Centre. East Anglia University, Norwich.

This exhibition was an impressive and thought provoking display where diverse techniques are used in innovative ways, using metal, even lead, laser cutting, print, weave and individual techniques, with craftsmen from Estonia, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania and U.K. I spent two days exploring the exhibits, fascinated at the diversity of the pieces and the way they were produced.

The work of Masaaki Tate, Japan mesmerised me. A rozome piece of about 8 canvases, a dark aubergine black with batik haloed circles, so subtle and perfect, fastidiously mounted because each canvas showed white drawn threads, both vertical and horizontal, one of the main features of the piece, and each line of threads was perfectly straight in both directions. The piece worked powerfully in it's simplicity because of the perfection in the skill of the making.

“A finely tuned aesthetic judgement to traditional craft processes, contrasting the density of the dyed surface with the structure of the cloth, revealed through the drawn threat”.
Masaaki Tate.

He also says:-

“I am concerned with describing the essence of the material and the idea in the simplest way. Using intuition is the artist and using skill is the craftsman. It is important that both coexist in my work”.

Aune Taamal, Estonia.

Of her narrative, she says,

“We humans have damaged the earth and I wonder how can we help the planet/”

“For me also, light is so important: the light within our bodies and the light of the universe. We consist of light and if we can bring more light into ourselves, then our cells become radiant. This is also tied into the sacred geometry………..We are all connected to each other and to nature. In our hearts there is a very sacred place…………. Sometimes I feel this connection which is a wonderful feeling. I feel that I am everywhere, then I don’t feel my body.”

Each day, I noticed a sign which directed us to Lord Sainsbury’s permanent collection. It looked rather stuffy and I almost didn’t bother to go. But – I did! What a treat. So many pieces I loved, ‘Little Dancer’ by Degas, many Giacometti pieces, both paintings and sculptures. Giacometti has always been one of my favourite artists, with the torment and passion portrayed in his sketches and his elongated sculptures. There were Henry Moores, a Chiam Soutine, Aztec and Inca and so many other pieces I loved.

The pieces which absolutely blew me away with their power and beauty were two bowls by Rupert Spira.

The beauty and soul in his work is overwhelming and this essence is something I would like to express in my work

Rupert Spira says,

"Objects that come from consciousness unmediated by any self-imposed limitations, could be said to be 'sacred art'. They have the power to reveal the universality of consciousness and it is in this capacity that their extraordinary potency lies".

The fact that he has inscribed poems and his other writings; spiritual words, around his bowls by hand, injects more purity into his work.

"The word 'consciousness' is the cognitive presence in every experience. The mystic's job is to explore the nature of reality, but more is required of the artist. He or she has to simultaniously make manifect the results of this enquiry in form".

"Sacred art is work that comes from a deep desire to explore the true nature of our experience, or from an intuition of it. So if we are trying to find out who we really are and what the work really is, it makes no sense to predefine or limit either. The ego is a self-imposed limitation on our true nature...................Sacred art takes us beyond these limitations because it is inspired by that which is beyond them. If a work of art is inspired by these limitations it will only lead the viewer back to them. We could say that a work of art is like a pathway. It bears the signature of its origin. The senses are the medium through which we travel this path".

Rupert Spira from an interview with Daphne Astor, 'Modern Painters', Summer 2001.

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