Archive for the 'MMT 2 – Research' Category

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Wrapping space

During this Assignment I have noticed wrapping that makes the viewer aware of something otherwise overlooked.

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37

The shape of the wooden spoon was intensified by wrapping it without really changing the boundaries. There’s a millimetre or two added, some colour and texture, detail lost – but the spoon is now consciously experienced.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

An old mug is unseen in the back of the cupboard, but wrapped and then part removed our vision tries to restore it. The viewer searches out the lines, puts together fragments of information in an effort to see more.

Perception of a stretch of coast is changed because Christo and Jeanne-Claude once wrapped it. There was an event. Detail was lost and simplified, shadow and line and movement was added.

Jim Lambie Zobop 2014 vinyl tape, varnish

Jim Lambie
2014 vinyl tape, varnish

Jim Lambie made a large gallery the art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I’ve written about this previously in the context of The Stripe (15-April-2014). The floor was wrapped in coloured tape. The air in the room seemed to be pulsing. The viewer became hyper-aware of irregularities in the shape of the room which may never have been noticed in the past.

Jim Lambie Psychedelic Soul Stick 68 2007 bamboo, wire, coloured thread, ladies necklace, green feather, Marlboro Light packets

Jim Lambie
Psychedelic Soul Stick 68
2007 bamboo, wire, coloured thread, ladies necklace, green feather, Marlboro Light packets

Resting against a wall was Lambie’s Psychedelic Soul Stick 68, a wonderful example of wrapping that joins, disguises and transforms objects – quite different to the wrapping, intensifying and re-presenting of space I am writing of here.

site shift Veronica Herber

site shift
Veronica Herber

As part of Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi 2013 Veronica Herber wrapped an electrical transformer and the sloping ground around (3-November-2013). It celebrated the detail of this very particular place. It recorded the time taken in the wrapping process. Space that was invisible to the casual walker enjoying the magnificent coastal scenery was suddenly, forcefully, present.

Nadia Odlum Perspex installation

Nadia Odlum
Perspex installation

I became aware of Nadia Odlum at a local exhibition, Cove Lines, last year (see 4-October-2014). From her website, Odlum “is interested in the processes of perception associated with the navigation of physical spaces, with an emphasis on architectural spaces and dynamic urban environments. … Through the creation of environments that necessitate active exploration she seeks to grant the viewer a heightened awareness of their own body, and its existence in physical space.” (, Accessed 31-July-2015). Unfortunately some photographs I remember don’t appear to be on the website currently. Odlum had added masking tape to flights of steps, on alleyway walls and so on, cleverly linking and repeating small architectural details, drawing notice, affecting the attention, perception and experience of the passers-by.

Mel Bochner has produced a series of works bringing attention to space with vinyl tape and measurements ( The gallery space is no longer neutral – it is the artwork. There is an interaction, a tension, between visual perception and the abstract descriptive numbers locating the viewer in the space.

Tess De Quincey

Tess De Quincey

Ruarc Lewis

Ruarc Lewis

In a performance Tess De Quincey and Ruarc Lewis transformed the Hazelhurst Gallery with line which brought our attention to the space (4-November-2012). This could be stretching “wrapping” a little too far, but it’s relevant to my current theme (and if it seemed important one could describe the work as joining parts of the space).

Thinking about this theme, the idea of wrapping to affect awareness, I decided to wrap the front porch based on shadows over the course of a sunny winter’s day. Planning this I was certain that I have seen the idea before, and associated it with Mel Bochner – but I haven’t been able to identify a specific source. It is certainly heavily influenced by a number of the artists referenced above.

The porch is on the south west corner of the house, and in Sydney’s winter with the sun low in the sky that means it is in shade most of the morning. I began the series of taping and photographing around 11 am. There is some additional light at times reflected from the neighbouring house, which I chose to ignore during this exercise. The tape marks the boundary of light and shadow at roughly hourly increments. Sometimes the shadow moved in the time it took me to tape, which gives some mismatching. Towards the end I ran out of the blue tape and had to change.

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At 11am the sun was just reaching over the roof of our house. By 5pm the porch was in full shade.

Sample p2-79_Completed

Sample p2-79_Completed

Making this sample really made me aware of the space and the changing light, but also very conscious the time of year, being in this city, the orientation of the house, and a particularly beautiful day. The same exercise in summer would have a very different result.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Wrapping space
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Wrapping space

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Wrapping has been a major recurring component in the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I have faint memories of the time they wrapped part of the coastline just south of Sydney in 1969-70, when I was a child growing up in a northern suburb. A 2.5km stretch of cliff and beach was wrapped with synthetic erosion-control fabric and polypropylene rope, a four week process. The wrapping was in place for ten weeks, then removed and recycled. It was widely reported and polarised opinion. It could be a manufactured memory, but in my middle class home it was seen as odd, not something we would go to see, but rather nice that such a thing could be done in Australia.

Sample p1-58a Detail

Sample p1-58a Detail

More recently I’ve seen two works by them at the Art Gallery of NSW – Wrapped Paintings (1968 – link and Two wrapped trees (1969 – link). I was reminded of them while using a heat gun in an earlier project (20-April-2015). I find the wrapped trees depressing – long dead and preserved beyond reason. The wrapped paintings are intriguing – apparently no-one knows just what is inside.

Wrapping could take many forms – transparent, both displaying and transforming the contents (a nude woman, a bundle of Esquire magazines – interesting that in a video with Christo he comments on the movement in the wrapping, rather than the contents; Opaque, but with contents easily identified, as with the trees; Obscured. In a video of Woolworks (1969, a stacked wall of wool bales is covered in dark tarpaulins, completely obscuring the contents, but displayed nearby are more bales, the tops opened and contents tipping out. The wrapping can create a sculptural quality in everyday objects and cause viewers to reconsider, to see afresh, both object and the surrounding space.

Wrapping is not the only process used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They have also surrounded objects (eleven of the islands situated in Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami in 1980), and drawn lines through environments (a 39.4 km fence in California 1972-1976, a curtain across a valley in Colorado 1970-1972). They alter an environment, allowing viewers to see it with new eyes, newly conscious.

Many of the large landscape-based projects take years to fulfill, or have never been realised. There can be long negotiations and litigation, as community and environmental concerns are addressed and permissions obtained. They are generally sited in or near population centres, intended to be seen and experienced directly by people. The large scale works are temporary, and that is part of the aesthetic, creating a sense of urgency to see it, knowing that this is really unique, giving a quality of the love and tenderness we can feel for the fleeting.

Fabric is a frequently seen component. Christo explained it “translate[s] the fragile, nomadic quality of our projects”, “like living objects, they move all the time”, “you can see the wind, normally you cannot see you can only feel the wind” ( In the website FAQ Jeanne-Claude described the use of textiles as the common denominator of their work “Fragile, sensual and temporary materials which translate the temporary character of the works of art.” (

The work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is not conceptual. They wanted to see it realised. It is environmental in being in human environments, but the claims I have seen about commentary on waste and use of plastics is all from others, not the artists themselves. More than anything the works are intended as an aesthetic experience. Talking about a proposed project, The Mastaba, Christo said “Simple, incredible geometric form situated in the waving landscape of the sand dunes. This is important, the contrast between the movement, the organic shape of the dunes with that steep, very simple form.” It was to be very colourful, multi-colours, gorgeous abstract painting, “so enchanting and unique that they [people] like to be present” (

Christo prepares enormous numbers of drawings while developing projects – simple sketches, collages, altered photographs, maps and more. This could be simply part of his process, but the drawings also are a part of the communication process in advancing a project, and a necessary part of the planning process for major organisational and engineering undertakings. Sales of the drawings provide funding of the projects themselves. Inspired by this, I attempted a sketch of a possible wrapping of St Mary’s cathedral in Sydney, printing a photograph on A3 cartridge paper then spreading acrylic paint with a cut-down credit card. Lines for the ties were drawn into the paint with the wrong end of a brush. (More about the cathedral is in a report I did for Art History – 10-June-2013)

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney - photograph, acrylic paint

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – photograph, acrylic paint


A variety of opinions on the wrapping of Little Bay – “Christo”, broadcast 19 April 2004, transcript available on line, I particular like “Although it isn’t my cup of tea, I should imagine that to many thousands of people, it would be their cup of tea with cream added in.”

Images of work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude held at the Art Gallery of NSW

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Judith Scott

figure_moodboardJudith Scott’s work was first mentioned in this blog when it appeared on my moodboard for the final project in A Creative Approach (28-December-2012). It’s that figure-like binding in the centre at the top. To me it looked like a trapped and tortured figure, fitting with my theme on Aged Care. I don’t know what it meant for Scott. She was born with Down syndrome, possibly due to early childhood illness was deaf, and never spoke. Her life story included a long, harrowing period and her creativity wasn’t expressed until later in life when she went to live with her twin sister.

Sketch 20150529 detail

Sketch 20150529 detail

Is the interpretation of torture from my mindset at the time? In May researching for this Part of the course my attention was caught by a different work illustrated in the same book, Mary Schoeser’s Textiles. Shown here is my research sketch (detail of page previously blogged 31-May-2015). Surely that must be auto-biographical.

Writing this now I’m thinking more about my own reactions and choices, why they change over time. Because I’ve changed again. Now I find a chair, bound together with bicycle wheel rim and what looks like a woven bamboo basket fascinating (image at and on my pinterest board). It’s not the colours, which I find a bit drab, unlike some other works by Scott. There isn’t the strong emotion, negative and positive, that I’ve found in the works mentioned earlier. There’s something about the unexpected, random combination which doesn’t feel random. I think I’m seeing a change in myself under the influence of the current course. Deeply considering the implications of wrapping a wooden spoon could have that effect.

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37

I like that you can tell the scale of the work. A chair, bicycle rim and bowl will exist within a certain size range. Other pieces can give a jolt when they are photographed so you can see many are around adult human size. Sample p2-37 helped me to see a wooden spoon – to stop, and see the shape and size of that particular spoon. Our visual system has so many shortcuts and assumptions and leaves out what isn’t “required”. I can’t make assumptions, I have no meaningful conventions when looking at Scott’s work. I don’t know what she meant by it and I’m not able to read my own meaning into it. It makes me stop, and look, and think, and wonder, and see things around me a little differently afterwards.

Cruz, C. (2015) “Words Fall Away: ‘Judith Scott — Bound and Unbound’” on Hyperallergic [online] Available from (Accessed 17 July 2015)

Shoeser, M. (2012) Textiles: The art of mankind. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Judith Scott
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Judith Scott

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Erin Manning

I have written before about Erin Manning, in particular as part of research on textile art for A Creative Approach (27-August-2012).

Manning crosses through multiple disciplines – dancer, painter, philosophical practice. In the context of my current project I want to focus on one small part of one exploration undertaken by her – Stitching Time at the 18th biennale of Sydney: all our relations. As an overview of that work, below I have made a rough transcription of an interview given by Manning within the artspace, illustrated with photos I took there. The video is available at

manning_03Manning speaks of rethinking how we cloth the body, not the common idea of a person trying to fit into clothing that doesn’t conform to their shape or desires. She started cutting shapes that would facilitate designing garments. The first collection was very theoretical and philosophical – a disaster producing only capes.

ErinManning_06Manning rethought, became more geometric, and designed around 500 patterns. 2,000 pieces were cut, edges overlocked, each different. The pieces had buttons and button holes so people could connect the fabric. Manning didn’t want the work to be modular, for people to think of the edges as the garment. She introduced many small magnets, which facilitate a fold. Manning finds it more interesting to design with the fold, although people could also use the flat shapes. With folds you get volume, and also lose the sense of negative and positive space.

manning_04Manning organised sewing circles, and people came and returned and asked for the next one. The work, originally called Slow Clothes, was exhibited in multiple venues over 7 years, in which Manning allowed any kind of transformation to take place, all the way from the environment to the body. Manning decided to do a final iteration for the Sydney biennale, and 500 more translucent pieces were created. Colours and translucency were chosen thinking of the quiet, threshold time of the sun sinking into the sea in the southern hemisphere.

manning_01She worked with others designing the biennale space, using fishing nets, to get a sense of looking across colour. In Sydney Manning invited people to participate in the experience of sharing time – the time of those who worked on the pieces, and time taken to compose with the fabric. There is the sculpture of the work in the space, and baskets full of fabric that people were welcome to dress with. There was a long sewing table to facilitate any changes people needed to make. As people give time the garment created its own personality and became theirs. Not a quick exchange, but a meeting of times and currents of time.

ErinManning_05Philosophically the work was about making felt different layers of time, participating in how the layers of time move from the artspace into the world, the pieces little nuggets of time moving into the world. The work is one way of exploring forms of collaboration, and how we stage the encounters is central to that. Here art becomes a lure to stage encounters. One of the ideas that Manning believes is politically necessary is for us to challenge the idea that we have a neutral body. Movement is much more key to the body than non-movement. Giving people the opportunity to rediscover how the body moves is pretty central to the idea of how the pieces fold.

manning_02More important to Manning in the time she gave to the project was learning what it is that people take from the encounter. What is necessary? What is an encounter?


These ideas are fascinating, all the layers of thought and meaning in this work. The focus on exploring encounters – meaningful, creative, collaborative encounters – seems so exactly what is needed today. And it will be much more forceful if you watch the video and see Erin Manning speaking in such a gentle, purposeful, open, intelligent, generous way.

For my current project I want to take the tiniest sliver of a side-note – the folds creating volume, not focusing on the flat piece and the edges, options in joins facilitating the creation of a new entity.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Erin Manning
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Erin Manning

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Eva Hesse

Eva Hesse (1936 – 1970) has been associated with Minimalism and with early feminist art (The Art Story, [nd]), with organic abstraction (Dempsey, 2010) and process art (Honour and Fleming, 2009). One short post can give only the most brief and partial information on this woman, her work and ongoing influence. I will focus on aspects relevant to Joining and Wrapping. I’ve pinned a number of her works on my Joining and Wrapping pinterest board, and will include separate links to particular works below.

Her name has come up in this blog a few times before.

  • From Reading – Elissa Auther: String Felt Thread (26-May-2012): Hesse was an artist among those who began to use fibre in their work in the postminimilism movement, having sufficient credibility and connections to avoid the suggestion of craft in her work.
  • In Reading: Abstraction and its Processes (2-Nov-2014) I noted references to Hesse in company with Robert Hunter, Paul Partos, Marcel Duchamp and Sandra Selig in Kelly’s discussion of the use of thread as a mark making tool by painters and sculptors.
  • A more recent Experimentation (14-Dec-2014) was inspired by my reading of Glenn Adamson linking Marcel Duchamp’s 3 Standard Stoppages to “the drooping, coiling, spilling, and curling forms of Hesse, Morris, Zeisler, Hicks, and their peers” (Adamson, 2014, p. 148)
  • From the MoMA website: “Her mature sculpture abounds in contradictions: chaos and order, organic and geometric, absurd and tragic. Hesse was one of the first and most influential artists to question the austere, immobile exactitude of serial Minimalism and imbue it with a capacity to move, change and vary from the norm like a living being.” (Johnson, 2009)

    Hesse was highly experimental in her use of materials, and in her evolving approach to making art. Hang Up (1966, Art Institute Chicago) turns art inside out. Clement Greenberg claimed “Modernism used art to call attention to art” and championed abstract expressionists who focused on the flat surface of the canvas and the physical presence of the paint (more at 2-Mar-2014 and 27-Dec-2013). Hesse removes the canvas entirely, and extends an acrylic covered steel cord far into the viewers’ space. The frame, on Old Masters works often elaborate, in modern art marginal or absent, is central to the work – Is the work. It’s a playful, ironic comment on art, and has the the level of “absurdity or extreme feeling” Hesse sought. Of interest in my current Assignment, the frame is neatly but not smoothly wrapped in fabric and covered with acrylic paint. The wrapping does not disguise the frame – effectively the canvas surrounds the frame instead of the frame surrounding the canvas. The normal picture’s hanging wire is brought right into view. I haven’t found a good closeup to examine the join of cable to frame, but it appears to be managed neatly and invisibly.

    I have had the opportunity to see two of Hesse’s works in person. One, a painting in the National Gallery of Victoria, was seen briefly in a chaotic room and had little impact. The other is Contingent (1969) in the National Gallery of Australia. This is huge, and in my eyes dominates its space despite being hung in a rather odd area transitioning between galleries. In the large, dim, gray concrete space Contingent glows, capturing, condensing and infusing the light around with warmth. Standing near the panels they seem immense, somehow heavy with gravity pulling them down and yet ethereal. From Hesse’s exhibition statement when Contingent was show at the Finch College Museum:

      “I remember I wanted to get to non art, non connotive,
      non anthropomorphic, non geometric, non, nothing,
      everything, but of another kind, vision, sort.
      from a total other reference point, is it possible?
      I have learned anything is possible, I know that.
      that vision or concept will come through total risk, freedom, discipline.”

    (Hesse, 1969)

    Tomorrow’s Apples (5 in White) (1965) (The Tate) could be seen as joining curved edges with a gap. This relief was part of Hesse’s move from painting to sculpture, and can be seen as in interpretation of line in three dimensions. Cloth-wrapped rods make connections across the surface, and are apparently “secured by being knotted through the chipboard support” (The Tate, 1981). The wrapping and joining are clearly relevant to this Part of the course, but also of interest are the irregular areas of papier mâché on the board, creating relief but also reminiscent of the torn edges explored in Part 1.

    Metronomic Irregularity I (1966) (Brooklyn Museum) is also an exercise in joining with a gap. To me it looks like a joyful scribble in space, or a crazy early phone switchboard. So many connections! Such chaos, yet somehow captured in a grid. There’s a wonderful sense of energy and freedom … contained, disciplined.

    A point of interest in using Mixed Media. Hesse once said “Life doesn’t last, art doesn’t last, it doesn’t matter” (quoted in Prichard, 2012). Her choice of materials has proven very difficult for curators. Many of Hesse’s works are now extremely fragile, some impossible to display. On the Tate website is an interesting article by Michelle Barger, considering the possibilities and implications of replicating Hesse’s works (Barger, 2007). Virtually any ‘Old Masters’ work we see in a gallery has substantially changed since leaving the Master’s hands, through deterioration of materials and restoration efforts. I wonder how different Contingent looked when first hung.

    Adamson, G. (2014) “Soft Power” in Porter, J. (ed.) Fiber: Sculpture 1960 – Present DelMonico Prestel

    The Art Story ([nd]) Eva Hesse: German-American Sculptor [online] Available from (Accessed 4 June 2015)

    Auther, E. (2009) String Felt Thread: The hierarchy of art and craft in American art, Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press

    Barger, M. (2007) Thoughts on Replication and the Work of Eva Hesse [online] Available from (Accessed 5 June 2015)

    Dempsey, A. (2010) Styles, schools and movements: The essential encyclopaedic guide to modern art. London: Thames & Hudson.

    Hesse, E. (1969) catalogue statement [online] Available from (Accessed 7 June 2015)

    Honour, H. and Fleming, J. (2009) A World History of Art (revised 7th edition). London: Laurence King.

    Johnson, E. (2009) From Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press [Online] Available from (Accessed 7 June 2015)

    Kelly, W. (2011) Abstraction and its Processes: An historical and practical investigation into abstract visual language Saarbrücken: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing (print on demand – October 2014)

    Prichard, S. (2005, reproduced 2012) “Collecting the Contemporary: ‘Love will decide what is kept and science will decide how it is kept'” In Hemmings, J. (ed) (2012) The Textile Reader, Berg.

    The Tate (1981) Catalogue entry: T02383 TOMORROW’S APPLES (5 IN WHITE) 1965 [Online] Available from (Accessed 7 June 2015)

    Other Resources

    Glueck, G. (2006) “Bringing the Soul Into Minimalism: Eva Hesse” In The New York Times [Online] Available from (Accesseed 5 June 2015)

    T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Eva Hesse
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Research: Eva Hesse

    T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping– Initial Research

    Joining and wrapping in textiles. I’ve spent the last few days looking around the internet and through books, searching for examples of joining and wrapping.

    Virtually everything involves joining, wrapping or both. Spinning joins together fibres to create a yarn – and in plying or if the twist is uneven you get the fibres wrapping around each other. In weaving the separate ends of warp are joined together by the weft. Add in a decorative line of Brook’s bouquet (or any number of weaving techniques) and there is wrapping. Take a stitch and thread is joined to cloth. Add a french knot… You think that’s low level? Colour is created when dye molecules react with fibre to form a chemical bond – a join. Warp and weft threads are bound or wrapped in dyeing for ikat.

    Looking at types of joins as a way of focusing in:

  • Sample p2-1 Caterpillar headJoining two pieces of the same material. My caterpillar sample p2-1 joined two pieces of the same type of watercolour paper. I could perhaps have found a larger piece. The caterpillar could be stitched on a single page. The join is a way of getting larger pieces of a material. Kente cloth is joined – looms are narrow. The join can become a feature (bojagi), or it can be made nearly invisible. The join can be decorated, or the method of joining can be decorative.
  • Two or more materials can be joined. This could be a visual change, for extra strength, for other properties (eg translucent) or behaviour (eg one will shrink under heat, or is stretched and will relax after joining).
  • Introduce space / volume / dimension. Join a flat material to a cylinder. Join at darts and slashes. Join with curves. Colette Wolff’s The art of manipulating fabric is a great technical resource.
  • Do I want to consider that a material could be joined to itself? A thread can be knotted to itself to form a net. Or crocheted, knitted, tatted…
  • Visual joins – optical colour mixing; motifs building up a pattern. The power of not quite joining – the Creation of Adam in the Sistene chapel.
  • There’s more in my notes. With my new aim of quick, loose sketches as part of each work session, I’ve extended a method used in the past for book-based reading. A3 cartridge paper, two unequal columns. On the left goes information about the source and artwork with a sketch of whatever has caught my interest, together with a few notations on materials, technique, a quote from the artist… On the right I jot notes for myself – an idea, a place my mind has wandered… I can go back and add there too, as I make connections and ideas build. I haven’t quite got there yet, but this feels like a way of getting stronger and clearer connections between my research and how I use it to inspire my own making. It’s a way of balancing my natural wordiness with a more visual approach. I should be able to flip back through the pages as I work through the course exercises and remind myself of things I wanted to explore.

    A new-to-me innovation to up the visual part of my research is pinterest. I’ve had some concerns about this site in the past, but now OCA has started up a series of boards, including textiles – For my Joining and Wrapping image collection see It’s quite a broad interpretation. It includes some links to my own photos on this blog, plus to works by artists in my paper-based notes – a way to keep visuals together and in my mind.

    Next I plan to re-read the course notes and try to find some matches between exercises, the artworks I’ve been looking at, and my own inclinations. That should help me focus on the sorts of things I want to attempt, and identify a few artists to explore in more detail.

    T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Research
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 2: Joining and wrapping
    Initial Research


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