Woven Narratives: Materiality Meets Fiction in S|2 London’s "Where Were You at Night"

Launch Slideshow

From 11 July to 19 September, S│2 London presents Where Were You at Night, the second of three exhibitions at the gallery where a work of literature forms a conceptual framework for an exhibition and is accompanied by a new edition and reprinting of a story.

The latest exhibition is titled after a collection of fourteen short stories written by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, starting in 1951. Like this collection of stories in Lispector’s work, the exhibition encourages many narratives and remains open-ended in its exploration of materiality.

The artists in the exhibition are: Olga de Amaral, Tonico Lemos Auad, Gordon Baldwin, Jagoda Buić, Leonardo Drew, Françoise Grossen, Kim Lim, Lawson Oyekan, Carole Seborovski, Shiro Tsujimura and Shelagh Wakely. Shifting between ideas of the hand-made, of touch, holes and weaving, the exhibition seeks to capture a sense of feelings intertwined. Click the image above to view the slideshow.

Woven Narratives: Materiality Meets Fiction in S|2 London’s "Where Were You at Night"

  • Olga de Amaral is one of the most important figures in the development of Latin American art. Her sculptural practice interweaves art and craft, combining various materials including her trademark use of gold. A large body of her work is comprised of striking, colourful tapestries made from wool, cotton and horsehair, bringing twentieth-century geometric abstraction into a new framework.

    Staying true to her practice, Alquimia XII is a combination of interwoven thread and linen with de Amaral’s signature use of gold leaf. Both playful and majestic, the tapestry is based on the proportion of the human figure in homage to a pre-Columbian gold mantle.

    This work belongs to a series that evoke the patterns and textures of an array of sources: rows of corn, adobe walls, chainmail armour from the Middle Ages and the golden interiors of Spanish Baroque churches.
  • Tonico Lemos Auad is a Brazilian artist living in London. A Goldsmiths University Alumni, Auad’s work uses a wide range of materials and traditional crafts as a springboard to rethink process, the metaphysical realm and how the viewer relates to their environment.

    This Untitled work from 2018, exemplifies the artist’s emphasis on material and textural detail, by presenting a raw hand-crafted cedar sculpture with an intricate surface texture.
  • American artist Leonardo Drew is best known for creating contemplative abstract sculptural works that play upon a tension between order and chaos. His work recalls post-Minimalist sculpture that alludes to America’s industrial past.

    Drew transforms found materials such as wood, scrap metal and cotton into works of emotional intensity, articulating the cyclical nature of life and temporal decay. Such is the case with 126L executed in 2013. This imposing wall installation consists of 16 panels featuring hundreds of man-made wooden scrap pieces slotted together and mingled with organic natural branches to create a complex yet minimal scene. The work almost appears as an aerial cityscape when viewed closely, betraying the initial impression of it as a minimal black square recalling the art historical motif first made famous by Kazimir Malevich.
  • Over the years, British artist Gordon Baldwin’s work has helped to redefine the discipline of ceramics. Privileging playful abstraction over any kind of functionality, he has been credited as being instrumental in making pottery more sculptural. Baldwin uses earthenware and stoneware clay, often experimenting with various techniques and re-firing pieces several times.

    Grey Double Vessel with Square is consistent with the artist’s recognisable aesthetic. The vessel has been playfully deformed to a disproportionate shape containing an incised outline of a square. The square is neither a decoration nor an addition, but a lively and awkward yet integral part of the composition.
  • Lawson Oyekan is a British-Nigerian contemporary ceramic sculptor, whose compositions celebrate the power of nature to inspire contemplation, renewal and transformation, whilst also exploring themes of identity.

    Oyekan developed his own technique of hand-working his totemic vessels and large monoliths, featuring beings and head-like forms, as he instils in them an energy to be unlocked by the viewer. His sculpture White Eben appears dry and unglazed, decorated with pierced shapes, and composed of multiple pieces of hand-built porcelain, as if fixed several times over. The visibly patched surface recalls the artist’s intention to “express human endurance and deliver a message of reassurance: that human suffering can be healed.”
  • Singaporean-British artist, Kim Lim is known for her abstract wooden and stone-carved sculptures that explore the relationship between art and nature. Her timeless, integral forms whose titles range from mythological creatures to place names and cultural figures, bear a certain weightless energy, in spite of the density of the chosen material.

    Lim’s work often begins with suggestion, alluding to various points of reference, shapes and figures, but precluding any clear-cut definition or meaning.

    Chess Piece from circa 1960, is an early example of Lim’s wood sculptures made prior to her focus on stone-carving later in life. The artist often refers to chess pieces in her work, but what interests Lim is not the theme of chess per se but the appearance of the game and the combative force that lies behind each of its pieces.
  • Shiro Tsujimura is one of the most prominent contemporary ceramic artists whose practice eschews convention and combines historic Japanese and Korean techniques. After he saw an old tea bowl at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum he became inspired to dedicate himself to ceramics.

    This Untitled sculpture belongs to a series of works made with a traditional Japanese style of Iga ware. The organic, raw and textured form, has been reworked to celebrate its imperfections through Tsujimura’s pioneering, self-taught techniques. The artist views mistakes as a starting point, exposing his collapsed ceramic works to rain and wind in a bid to inscribe into them the passing of time and layers of depth.
  • Shelagh Wakely was a multidisciplinary artist with a career spanning four decades who took part in the British Sculpture Movement of the 1980s. Looking at how matter deteriorates and endures, her artworks seek to play with our perceptive faculties, becoming both exciting and disorienting.

    a second enchantment is a large wall piece consisting of gold leaf on cut fabric. The artist began using gold in her work following a trip to Brazil where she became inspired by the flamboyant and lavish decorations of the local culture. The intricate web of holes and tears that the artist has made in the luxurious gold surface of the fabric, attests to her restless desire to unnerve and peel back what lies beneath the surfaces of materials and what might exist between them.
  • Carole Seborovski is a New York-based painter and sculptor whose mixed media practice explores perception and the constant state of transformation. There is a recurrent aspect of tactility and visual opulence in her work, whereby the use of colours and materials invite the viewer into this world of billowing, abstract forms, where symmetry and spiritual undertones give rise to a contemplative experience of otherworldliness.

    Moura Fiandeira is an example of the artist’s recurrent aesthetic combining both minimalism and organic surrealism. The artist’s selection of sculptures in Where Were You at Night at S2 appear as ancient artefacts with a contemporary sensibility.
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