contemporary art

From granny's crochet to modern art

Catching up on BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme I heard an interview with the American artist Chuck Close who currently has a show at London's White Cube gallery.

As in this section of a self portrait, Close works in great detail building up is work section by section on a grid. A technique he says, in the interview, that may be at some level influenced by his crocheting grandmother.

He talks about her building up a tablecloth motif by motif and how his work breaks things down in the same way. It is lovely to hear a fine artist talk about "craft" in this way and worth a listen - his interview is at 7mins 12s.

Infinite crochet and performance art

This summer I am one of a team of women crocheting the Mandelbrot set for the sake of art.

It is not a bad gig. I sit in an armchair and for hours crochet a simple but meditative set of stitches.

The mathmatical formula, the Mandelbrot set, has been converted into a set of crochet instuctions which we "babushkas" reproduce.

image from
Not me but you get the idea.

As the artists, Where the Dogs Run, put it:

"Boundaries of the void are defined through the process of crochet. The void, in this case, is that which is outside the boundaries of the crocheted fabric. Thus, is the crochet herself "suspended" in the void? Or perhaps, as long as a thread connects her to the crocheted set, she is part of the non-void - and that's what makes the crochet so important?"

I've always felt that craft keeps me grounded so this is an interesting thought, although sitting in the chair in the gallery it feels like a few hours out of the world.

The installation is part of the Russian art show at the Calvert 22 gallery which is the  highlights from the Innovation Prize, the official state award for contemporary visual arts in Russia. Best described as the Turner prize of Russian art, this is the first time art from the Innovation Prize has been shown outside Russia.