Susan Stockwell: Stitched Up: Paper and Politic

Stitched up 2005

Studio Caparrelli is pleased to present an exhibition entitled Stitched-Up: Paper and Politics, presenting a series of two and three-dimensional pieces by British artist Susan Stockwell all relating to maps and cartography.

The exhibition runs in conjunction with a lecture by Stockwell given at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Stockwell has continually pursued new approaches to sculpture, challenging and broadening the conventional use of domestic materials and processes traditionally associated with women's roles.

Everyday products and materials are recycled and reinterpreted, using traditional handicraft processes, into new meanings and contexts reflecting the post-colonial implications of global commerce. Working with tea, coffee, atlases, paper and surveyors' maps, the objects in the exhibition are infused with references to trade and global industrialisation in relation to the Western world.

A vividly symbolic map of India constructed from tea bags stitched together hints at the topographical nature of the country, with subtle references to Britain's history of tea consumption and importation.

'Imperial Quilt' is a stunning large-scale piece, made from selective segments of paper maps from around the globe. Old atlases have been cut up and stitched into a traditional quilt pattern based on a diamond form. All continents are included, each one is divided by sea and this creates the pattern. The Middle East forms the central part of the quilt and North America forms the border. The quilt will have one swatch of North America stitched into each of the continents, hence the name -'Imperial Quilt' . It is also based in imperial measurements. The intention here is to subtly deal with past and current geo-political issues.

The prevailing themes of the map are explored again in the highlight of the exhibition: a life-sized ball gown constructed out of atlases - the neckline describing the coastline of Africa and Central America masquerading as a shoulder strap. The atlases which are essentially flat paper works, as are traditional dressmaker's patterns, are brought to life mapping out the body alluding to the ideal form as well as the trade of objects that underscored colonial conquests. The ethereal - like quality of the hollow garment itself contrasts with the violent histories and loss of life in some post-colonial nations.

Through her use of the ordinary, the materials are transformed using such traditional craft processes as sewing and quilting, historically associated with female roles. Stockwell imbues these processes with new meanings and readings, and continues to challenge and provoke her audience. Stitched-Up is a show that proves once again that Susan Stockwell is a talent to watch closely.

Stitched Up: Paper and Politics runs at Studio Caparrelli:
Wednesday 20th April through 15 June 2005

Private View: Tuesday 19th April 6:30 - 9:30

Stitched Up: Paper and Politics lecture at the Victoria and Albert Museum:
Sunday 24 April 2005, 3:00 -4:30

20 April - 15 June 2005