The Charged Object: soft sculpture and the aesthetics of touch
Paula do Prado
Curators: Felicity Martin & Paula Do Prado
This exhibition explores the ‘aesthetics of touch’ and how the use of non-traditional and tactile materials become charged with meaning in the gallery environment. Artists have been incorporating soft sculpture as part of their oeuvre since the 1960’s with key provocateurs like American artist Claes Oldenberg and French artist Louise Bourgeois.
There are a number of contemporary Australian artists, both indigenous and non-indigenous who are pushing the medium by integrating technology and traditional textile techniques such as sewing, knitting, crochet and weaving into their work. Materials such as fur,fabric and fibre embody intrinsic signifiers which are read and felt by their audience. The relationship to the body as metaphor and the way the viewers body engages with these soft materials, allows the artist to establish complex layers and narrative in their work.
"The object feels. This is the great discovery that Claes Oldenburg has introduced to Modern Art. Oldenberg intertwines the organic and inorganic in his sculpture, conjoining human feeling and the physical properties of objects. These new feeling objects, presented as art, can no longer be under stood as detached and impersonal rather, they have been imbued with sensuality and sexuality.”
Celant, Germano (1995) ‘Claes Oldenburg and the Feeling of Things’, in Claes Oldenburg: an anthology, Claes Oldenburg, New York, N.Y. : Guggenheim Museum : Hardcover ed. distributed by Abrams, 1995: 13