TATE Modern review: Cecilia Vicuña’s hanging mobiles 11 October 2022-16 April 2023
- Published on Monday, 10 October 2022 17:20
- Last Updated on 14 October 2022
- 0 Comments
Today’s TATE Modern visit was about as far away from the apples and pears upstairs – aka Cezanne’s exhibition – as you can get. Hanging the full height of the turbine hall, were two ghostly apparitions. And to be very frank, I felt a bit non+ed.
Think giant Jurassic jellyfish meets Miss Havisham’s wedding dress (in Dickens’ Great expectations) meets spring-look Dementor meets Mudlarker’s bathroom shelf … I know, right? What IS one supposed to think?
The artist, a quietly-spoken, petite lady with long plaits, and the curator were thankfully on hand to demystify. It turned out this wasn’t abstract make-of-it-what-you-like-type art. It was an exercise in symbolism.
The creamy columns of meticulously knotted natural fibres, interspersed with flotsam and jetsam from the River Thames, represent nothing less than the artist’s entire life’s work and philosophy, which I have tried to decode rather baldly below.
- The hanging-mobile ‘Quipu’ = a tribute to the artistic and poetic traditions of forest peoples of the Amazon
- The pair of Quipu = mother and daughter, cooperation and love, the only way to save the planet
- Natural fibres = the natural world
- The waftiness = the impermanence of all things
- Weaving and knots = the interconnection of all things
- The flotsam = unifying river nature and the industrial space of the old power station, more interconnection
- The column-shape = a tree trunk and, by extension, the world’s forests
- The cream palette = echoes bleached dead trees due to drought
- The bedraggled textile = mourning garb to highlight the artist’s feelings about ecological destruction
- The soundtracks woven into each strand – promoting the interests of endangered indigenous peoples and wildlife.
It makes me wonder, if I was asked to produce an installation expressing my life, values, passions and aspirations, what would it look like…
What would yours look like?
Cecilia Vicuña, @ TATE Modern
11 October 2022-16 April 2023