NEOPLASTIC KNITTING

Nov. 6th 2008 to Jan. 3rd 2009

California Nano-Systems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles

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Exhibition in conjunction with ART|SCI Symposium: BODY, ART, DISEASE.
Curated and organized by Stefanie Adcock, assistant director, ART|SCI Center.

 

WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION:
1. The Sweater: Dark Night Of The Body, 2007. Knitted wool, size 4.
2. The Blanket: Growth, 2007. Knitted wool, 60 x 72 inches.
3. The Blanket: Spread, 2007. Knitted wool, 50 x 50 inches.
4. The Hoops: Sketches, 2008. Knitted wool, wood, variable dimensions: 8 to 24 inches.

ARTIST STATEMENT:
A neoplasm is an abnormal mass of tissue, the growth of which exceeds and is uncoordinated with that of the normal tissues, and persists in the same excessive manner after cessation of the stimulus which evoked the change." [Willis RA: The Spread of Tumors in the Human Body]

I started doing some research about cancer. I learned that histologists look for the “appearance” of the cells in the tissue. They know that the mutated cell is a deviant. It is literary an ugly version of the healthy cell. Disproportionate, weak, different. Yet, the appearance in itself is not enough to define its most important characteristic, the very aspect that portrays this disease as a dynamic, defiant entity, with its own willingness. That willingness is to grow and to spread.

Using crochet, I simulated some of the behaviors of tumoral and cancerous cells, such as abnormal excessive replication and metamorphic appearance. The knitting mimics the way healthy tissue, metaphorically illustrated by the regular stitches, appears disfigured when the disease infiltrates its weaving.

Knitting became the medium of choice because its meditative process allows the growth of complex organic forms, stitch by stitch, mimicking the way nature builds from the bottom up, cell by cell…

Knitting, and most specifically the act of hand-knitting garments and blankets, embodies the notions of domesticity and protection of the human body. It relates to the body’s need to feel safe, comforted, and in this sense, it addresses the vulnerability of human life.