“Penelope” by Tatiana Blass

28 October 2016

I came across an online magazine article about the work “Penelope” by Brazilian Tatiana Blass (Sierzputowski, 2016). It reminded me somewhat of sample 14, Project 5, exercise 1 (see below), albeit on a much larger scale!

Bridging4.jpg

“Penelope” is a site specific installation named after Odysseus’ wife in “Homer’s Odyssey”, a character who kept herself away from suitors whilst her husband was at war by weaving a burial shroud in the day and secretly taking pieces apart at night.

Inside the chapel is a 45m red carpet attached to a loom. The carpet is part woven and part threads, leaving the viewer to wonder whether it is in the process of being constructed or destructed. The threads extend outside via existing holes in the chapel walls. Outside, the threads fall to the floor and make a tangled mass of red almost covering the ground. There are threads looped from the trees too. 

The article includes a ‘before’ and ‘after’ 6 months photograph of the threads outside the chapel. I am not sure which photograph is which, and the article does not make this clear. It could be either that leaves are falling and have are covering progressively more threads over time. Alternatively, it could be that more threads have been unravelled from the loom and are forming an ever more dense covering over the ground. Perhaps this is all part of the mystery of the piece!

One of the work’s strong attractions for me is the colour. I find the red hue very striking, particularly against the green foliage and contrasting texture of the rough stone walls. Without knowing the story, it feels somehow like a metaphor for bleeding (or loss); because there is an impression that the colour is being extruded from the walls. 

“Penelope” is a great example of the power of a site specific work; the site being an integral component of the artwork. A piece on this scale is difficult to conceive in my practice (having to post my work to my tutor). It made me think about the work of Christo and Jean Claude and how they started wrapping on a small scale, wrapping tin cans and everyday objects, before moving to oil drum sculptures of several meters high, and finally very ambitious projects of wrapped buildings and coastline.

 

References:

Sierzputowski, K. (2016) ‘A mass of tangled red yarn unravels from a loom to overtake a Brazilian chapel’ In: Colossal:Art 20.10.16 [online] At: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/10/a-mass-of-tangled-red-yarn-unravels-from-a-loom-to-overtake-a-brazilian-chapel/ (Accessed 28 October 2016)

 

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