Sarah Entwistle showing all new works in main gallery at Galerie Barbara Thumm

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Sarah Entwistle showing all new works in main gallery at Galerie Barbara Thumm
Installation View. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

BERLIN.- ‘Engendered by isolation within a particular space, and by the emphasis on cleaning and service. A visually sensitive woman who spends day after day in the same rooms develops a compulsion to change, adorn, expand them…as a kind of „positive fragmentation“ or as the collage esthetic-the mixing and matching of fragments to provide a new whole.’ – Lucy Lippard, essay, ‘Making something from nothing’. 1978.

Propped against the wall on the artist’s kitchen table is an empty moss-green cardboard folder with a typed label reading: ‘rolled and bent tube forms’, and next to it a plant cutting of the Tradescantia Pallida or ‘Purple heart’, now over-watered, its slender purple and green leaves browning. The hallway floor is lined with metal salvage that trails out of a large west-facing room, its own floor covered with metal and ceramic sections. A king-size bed is marooned against the wall. The artist’s calves and ankles, and her children’s toes, are bruised and scraped from stepping around the works on the way from bed to toilet in the dark. The parts are continually rearranged between meals, fragments feeling out for a positive placement, ‘a new whole’.

The title of the exhibition is collaged from letters written by photographer Vivienne Entwistle, the artist’s great-grandmother, to her son, architect Clive Entwistle, the artist’s grandfather. The final phrase, ‘and so on and so on…’ in its formal circularity leads us to the center of the artist’s compulsion towards ‘transformational rehabilitation’. In 1978 feminist art critic Lucy Lippard wrote, ‘Today we are resurrecting our mothers‘, aunts’, and grandmothers‘ activities not only in the well-publicized areas of quilts and textiles but also in a more random and freer area of transformational rehabilitation. On an emotional as well as on a practical level, rehabilitation has always been women’s work.‘

In these new works, Entwistle disrupts a perceived sculptural and architectural lineage that centers on monumentality, exteriority, transparency, linearity, and closed form, often rendered through the articulated tectonics of steel and bronze. Instead, she brings these mediums together with ceramic and textile to explore fragmentation, interiority, degrees of opacity, horizontality, permeability, the crooked, and the inarticulate.

Much of the presented metal elements were considered redundant, classed as either scrap or by-products; steel elements from dismantled buildings were salvaged from waste collection plants, and the bronze casting armatures were gathered from casting foundries. The tubes of ceramic are worked from lengths of clay pushed through an industrial extruder. The final forms are found through lifting and arranging the sections, parts collapsing, ripping, and bending as they are re-positioned. Framing the objects is a series of suspended printed textiles, collaged compositions derived from partially used architectural transfer sheets, their scored surfaces records of a somatic process resulting in an accidental formal lyricism.

The gathering and production of these elements, and their arrangement in the gallery space, move from loose intentionality to being responsive to the direction that the materials, fragments, and installation want to go. Meanwhile the chromatic and formal language thread back to the folder and the plant, and their momentary proximity in the kitchen.

In her practice, the artist communes with the artistic and life expressions of her great-grandmother, grandmother, and aunt, all self-taught artists, whose practices were formed and dispersed around their domestic spheres, and who were above all improvisers, both structurally in their lives and by extension in their work. For Entwistle these processes resonate with a wider feminist art lineage in which improvisation and adaptation are central as both creative strategies and foundational principles for living.

Galerie Barbara Thumm
Sarah Entwistle
What was I aiming for?
In my next life to be a great singer,
and the life after to be a writer,
and so on and so on…

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