Cloth & Culture

Before today’s lecture I read On Stuff and Nonsense: The Complexity of Cloth by Claire Pajaczkowska and struggled understanding it but I’ll return to it as hopefully I’ll have a better grasp on the concepts.

D W Winnicott – Transitional Objects  – already I’m aware I’ve not researched artists mentioned at my group crit last week so I must keep up!

What does cloth mean to us? We are ocular driven – sight dominated and unconsciously regulated our behaviour.
Cloth, in its folds and turns hides things, the body.

File:Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, La Grande Odalisque, 1814.jpg
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867)

Grande Odalisque, 1814, oil on canvas, 91 x 162 cm, Louvre

The cloth signifies who is lying there – to understand where the space is.

Ann Hollander Fabric of Vision

Cloth on the body also belongs to everyone who sees it.

What does it feel like? This belongs to the pre-oedipal state – still with another. Lacan – language cutting the body – needing to separate from the mother’s body. Pre- language is a primitive stage.

By touching a person you engage with them – sales people.

Cloth hides the body, holds the ego together. Ruptures of the ego – stains on cloths, tears, menstrual blood, breast milk. The inside and outside of the clothes – private on the wearers side – public on the outside.

Cloth bandages signify care – the swaddling of babies, the winding cloth is the ultimate caress, Ken Currie was mentioned.

The Troubled City

The Troubled City Oil on canvas Size 275.00 x 335.50 cm National Galleries Scotland

Drapery also used for loss- grave stones.

The blanket is a transitional object – from babyhood to childhood. The act of loosing the ego as gradually the baby becomes less attached to the blanket.

Things are always hidden in folds – cloth is not about order.

Diachronic….. happening over a period of time
Synchronic….. at a particular time

Eva Hesse Expanded Expansion, 1969. Fiberglass, polyester resin, latex, and cheesecloth, 309.9 × 762 cm overall. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Family of Eva Hesse, 1975, 75.2138. © Eva Hesse. Photo: David Heald (1986, New York)

One of my favourite artists – I’ve looked at her work before – innovative, experimental, was in a man’s world, large works, hangings, monochrome colours.

This work no longer shown due to its decay. So much of textiles has rotted away. If close to the body it gets disregarded – or no value, especially now with such cheap clothing – it gets overlooked.

Iris Marion Young   Throwing Like a Girl – how we become the clothes we wear. Shoes…how we walk differently in heels, flats, wellies. Who we want to be is shown through our clothes.

Lady Clementine Hawarden – dressing up games with her children – mirror used as ‘the other self’, sensual play, the mother is still intertwined with her children.

Julie Cockburn First Day 2010. Found photograph, stitching

The slip of the domestic into the exterior – the cctv camera covered with wallpaper.

Susan Bradley – outdoor wallpaper

Lace fences by Demarkersvan

Touched on the burqa, the invisible woman.

Tatiana Blass "Penelope"

Tatiana Blass  penelope from the wonderful website trendtablet

Arschile Gorky

(Left) Gorky and his mother, Van, Turkish Armenia (1912), Courtesy of Dr. Bruce Berberian, copyright Estate of Arshile Gorky / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York ; and (right) Arshile Gorky, "The Artist and His Mother" (c. 1926-36), Whitney Museum of American Art, Gift of Julien Levy for Maro and Natasha Gorky in memory of their father. / copyright 2009 Estate of Arshile Gorky / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

(Left) Gorky and his mother, Van, Turkish Armenia (1912), Courtesy of Dr. Bruce Berberian; and (right) Arshile Gorky, “The Artist and His Mother” (c. 1926-36), Whitney Museum of American Art, Gift of Julien Levy for Maro and Natasha Gorky in memory of their father.

How my Mother’s Apron Unfolds in my Life 

Oil on canvas258.1 × 290.8 cm © The Arshile Gorky Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Image provided by Seattle Art Museum

Hidden garments, concealed garments as talismen – metaphors for security. hidden in walls, floors when house was built.

Elizabeth Wilson – clothes are congealed articles of everyday life.

Doris Salcedo – not taken with her work as concrete disturbs me too much – cold, hard, drab.

Kim Soo Ja Sewing into Walking Dedicated to the Victims of Gwangju,” 1995
Installation at The 1st Gwangju Biennale, Korea
Used bed clothes and used clothes, speakers playing “Imagine” by John Lennon, dimensions variable
Photo by Fukuoka Sakae
© Kimsooja

The use of bottari bundles to carry processions. Given to a new born baby – used like a suitcase.

Bottari with the Artist, 1994, used Korean clothes and bedcovers, Yang Dong village, Korea. Photo by Ju Myung Duk.

Mary Douglas Purity and Danger ……. at this stage of typing up my blog I’ve 16 tabs open for me to re-visit in order to read the content….. all do to with what I’ve written today. I need a breather so am going to read about her work on wikipedia. All about the abject, the decaying, smelly, leaking body. The way we cope with it is to contain it.

Louise Bourgeois Cloth Book Fabric, lithographic ink and archival dyes 27 x 34 cm
Printed on cloth, Published by Peter Blum Edition
Produced by Solo Impression, New York and Dye-Namix Inc., New York

The rest of the pages can be seen here and a long article about her work here.

Maternal loss, transitional space and the uncanny in Alison Marchant’s Kingsland Road, London—East By Judith Rugg. her mother’s petticoat hanging on a washing line in a derelict back yard.

By seeing some body wrapped in cloth is sometimes more frightening.

Cornelia Parker Suit, Shot by a Pearl Necklace 
men’s suit Executed in 1995

Dress, Shot with Small Change (Contents of a Pocket)

Dress, Shot with Small Change (Contents of a Pocket), ladies’ velvet dress
Executed in 1995

Deconstruction objects to give different meaning.


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