It sounds a bit crazy to admit this late in the piece but I’m slowly realising that some of the artists that I most admire are textile artists, or rather, artists who include textiles/fibre in their practice.
I’ve chosen the Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña as one of the textile artists to be researched, because I love her work but don’t know that much about it, or her.
I had seen her name crop up in interesting texts over the years, but it wasn’t until I experienced her work at the 2012 Sydney Biennale that I fell in love, it was my favourite work in the exhibition: simple, beautiful and evocative. I attended her artist talk, and she sang to us and told us stories and wove us into one of her quipus – I was enchanted, in every sense of the word.
It’s difficult to find good images of Vicuña’s work online, or in publications. Many of her works are ephemeral, what she calls “precarios” (precarious objects) that are created in response to particular locations, often as a way of healing them or responding to what the places need, and are “for” the site, rather than about it. I am very interested in how artists respond to site, and Vicuña’s interventions are always authentic and responsive. They are for her a way of “hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard” (Vicuña’s website). There is a small slideshow of some of her works on her website, and a few others as background for her 2012 exhibition at Galeria Patricia Ready in Chile.
Interesting exhibition at The Drawing Centre with Cesar Paternosto
The following recording of a talk by Vicuna at the School of Visual Arts in New York possibly as recently as September 2014 (when it was posted) includes a film within a film, and while it’s quite long it is worth a look:
Performance – installation of Water Cry, a work created in situ at the oculus of the Mabel Smith Douglass Library at Rutgers University. This installation was part of “Water Writing: Anthological Exhibition 1966-2009” Sept 1, 2009-December 4, 2009. The exhibition was organized by the Institute for Women & Art.
Kon kon, a film by Cecilia Vicuna released in 2010 http://www.konkon.cl
This Spanish-language documentary in two parts is an introduction to el quipu and has interesting historical images
This video explains very clearly how numbers work in quipu
My notes – artist talk at Cockatoo Island 28 June 2012 2pm Cecilia Vicuña 18th Sydney Biennale
Spiraling time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_g7dkshIGc