By a thread

String as contemporary art medium

String in contemporary art: previous >

Ernesto Neto

Ernesto Neto
 

While Ernesto Neto's sculptural forms and environments often employ string or rope, these are frequently worked into shape using traditional techniques such as macrame and crochet.

Although we've (generally) attempted to exclude such practices from our overview of current string art, the monumental scale of many of Neto's works means that, visually, his pieces lose some of their association with domestic handicraft, becoming instead fantastical arrangements of intertwined cord.

Ernesto Neto

In addition, Neto's installations often invite physical interaction, designed to be directly experienced in ways which many more delicate string-based works intrinsically deny.

Ernesto Neto
 
Ernesto Neto
 

Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman
 

Originally inspired by fishermen's nets, US artist Janet Echelman's increasingly monumental installations fill outdoor (and occasionally indoor) public space with what she describes as 'aerial lace'.

Reacting to atmospheric conditions such as air movement, Echelman's works are often dramatically lit to emphasise their looming yet volumetrically insubstantial form.

Janet Echelman
 
Janet Echelman
 
Janet Echelman
 

Beili Liu

Beili Liu
 

Chinese-born American artist Beili Liu's increasingly acclaimed, multi-disciplinary practice utilises various fibres and 'female' crafts such as sewing in the construction of particularly poetic installations.

Beili Liu
 

Many of her works have a genesis in Chinese proverb or myth, such as Lure (below), which interprets the ancient notion that invisible red threads connect new-born children to those with whom they are fated to share their lives.

Beili Liu
 
Beili Liu
 

Other, more recent works, such as Stalemate (below) utilise hundreds of cords to suspend two large, stake-like forms in space: embodiments of "fierce energy" ... restrained by webs of "slender, soft, feminine threads".

Beili Liu
 
Beili Liu
 

Alexandros Psychoulis

Alexandros Psychoulis
 

Greek artist Alexandros Psychoulis has frequently used string and yarn in sprawling, semi-figurative installations.

God's Nails (2012), takes its title from Solaris, Stanislaw Lem's famous science-fiction novel, and attempts a commentary on the unruly social and political landscapes that dominate contemporary Greece.

Alexandros Psychoulis
 

The controversial 2003 Body Milk (left and below) employs pink thread to construct a series of stylised tableaux based on the true account of Ayat Al Akra, an 18-year-old Palestinian girl who carried out a suicide bomb attack on a Jerusalem supermarket.

Alexandros Psychoulis

Although the work was condemned by many, Psychoulis has denied that the piece is directly supportive of Al Akra's actions, but instead intended to illustrate his interest in a widely publicised and particularly emotive atrocity.

The thread (much of it formed into lace) is, in this respect, partially representative of the vast skeins of online documentation researched by the artist in order to arrive at his conclusions.

Alexandros Psychoulis
 
Alexandros Psychoulis
 

Machiko Agano

Machiko Agano
 

Japanese artist and master weaver Machiko Agano has, for several decades, produced delicate installative and sculptural works in a range of fibres and experimental materials, such as fishing line and wire.

Machiko Agano - string art

Although her practice is essentially associated with Fibre Arts, the spectacular execution of her numerous string-based projects merits their inclusion here.

Machiko Agano
 

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