A historical overview of string in art >
Inspired by architecture, utopian theory and astronomy, Argentinean artist Tomás Saraceno has produced a wide body of works including many created with rope, cable or string itself.
Saraceno's 2008 installation Galaxies Forming Along Filaments, Like Droplets Along the Strands of A Spider's Web (below) utilises elastic thread to illustrate the posited creation of the universe.
That work's titular analogy with a spider's web became a kind of reality in 14 Billions (below), a dizzyingly complex installation based on computational modelling of webs spun by the Black Widow spider. Comprising 8000 cords, these were individually knotted 23,000 times to create the final piece.
Other works, such as the artist's 'cloud city' capsules (below), employ networks of rope and cable as suspension cradles for interactive, pod-like structures.
Shiota's first use of wool webbing took place in 1996; since then, the artist has used it in countless installations, sculptural works and performances.
Characteristically employing vast amounts of yarn to create tangled tableaux hovering somewhere between dream and nightmare, the motif of the bed, and its obvious association with sleep, recurs throughout Shiota's practice.
Equally central is a frequent sense of melancholy or loss - her 2008 work Lebensspuren (Traces of Life) project (left and below), for example, attached six hundred donated shoes to the facade of a Berlin apartment block, each connected to a taut red thread symbolising the path taken through life.
In Shiota's most recent works, 'blood'-filled plastic tubing takes the place of her signature wool, emphasising a preoccupation with states of being poised between life and death, the fictive and the documentary.
For over two decades, Japanese artist Akiko Ikeuchi has been using silk threads to create delicate sculptural works.
Differentiated somewhat from the work of other artists here by an accent on internal form, Ikeuchi's practice frequently attempts to define geometric spaces within a network of threads, an approach requiring meticulous pre-planning before the process of hand-knotting each fibre into position occurs.
String in contemporary art: next >
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