Catalina Swinburn meticulously excavates the history and ceremony of fabrics in her woven paper « investitures » – Colossal

1686068533 Catalina Swinburn meticulously excavates the history and ceremony of fabrics | RetinaComics


#Catalina Swinburn #paper #sculpture #textile #weaving

« The Return of Ulysses » (2021), investiture in woven paper from the scores of ‘The return of Ulysses to the homeland’ by Claudio Monteverdi, 150 x 130 x 40 centimeters. All images © Catalina Swinburn, shared with permission

« The cloak is a talisman against dangers, keeping us safe during transitions, » says the Chilean artist Catalina Swinburn, whose elaborate sculptures use thousands of folded pieces of paper to explore the history of the world. Living and working between Buenos Aires and London, she is drawn to ideas of migration and displacement, transforming material derived from books, documents and maps into large-scale wall pieces and intricate robe-like compositions.

Swinburn is interested in liminality, the process of transitioning across boundaries or boundaries in space or time that often requires formal procedures. He focuses on investitures, a term that applies both to an honorary ceremony and to a type of garment that covers, protects, or adorns the wearer. “My works are what I called ritual investitures that extend power and endurance from the way they’re built, » he says, « even into the imaginary idea of ​​how this can be used as armor to protect, or wings to fly, or become something you desire. »

Two details of a book-woven paper sculpture.

Detail of « The Return of Ulysses » (2021)

From meticulously folded pieces of paper a draped fabric is born, often mounted on a panel or photographed wrapping the shoulders of a figure. The historically charged practices of collecting and exhibiting cultural artefacts, ceremonial materials and human remains are also a touchpoint for Swinburn, as he considers the nature of property, power, prejudice and representation. He often uses archaeological volumes for his sculptures, leafing through pages that catalog ancient Roman floor mosaics or antiquities. « Athánatoi », for example, is woven from period sheets containing documentation of glazed bricks moved from the Palace of Darius, Sussaan ancient city in present-day Iran.

In archaeology, textiles rarely survive, adding another layer of mystique to craft and clothing traditions around the world. « Textiles are among the most visible signs of sacred spaces and sacred roles, » says Swinburn. Using a technique she calls « inset » or embedding, the artist creates a durable fabric with a robust geometric structure that references built environments and patterns employed by indigenous groups. « The weave is designed with a stepped pattern inspired by sacred ruins and old scaffolding fabrics used in Andean cultures, » she says. “Referring to the whip juice structure, each module is cut and assembled manually.”

A sculpture made with woven book paper, mounted on a gold leaf panel.

“Athánatoi” (2021), investiture in woven paper from period books of archaeological documentation relating to the movement of archaeological glazed bricks from the Palazzo di Dario, Susa, 180 x 150 x 30 centimeters

Books have fascinated Swinburn since childhood, when his father amassed stacks of volumes on architecture and prehistoric civilizations. He finds his source material in charity shops, markets, fairs and on his travels, often inspired by a unique title or vintage illustrations. « Books are like pilgrims to me: they are also constantly traveling and moving, » he says. « They’ve passed through different hands, so it keeps its narrative, but for me, also the narrative of its own journey. » The portability of Swinburn’s materials is a significant aspect of his practice, as he travels frequently. His technique involves slicing the leaves, then carefully cutting and folding them into precise squares that can be grouped and taken anywhere.

Textiles have long been associated with household chores and often denigrated as ‘women’s work’. Swinburn turns this narrative upside down, exploring the representation of women over time or highlighting their total absence from the record. She says: « I mostly named all my pieces after emblematic women: Penelope, Arachne, Inanna, Astarte, Isis, Phoenix, Cocha, Quilla, Copacati, Dido, Aida… I always think, what if history had Was it told from a female perspective?I want to bring these narratives back and empower them, so that we all think about how powerful they have been.

Swinburn will open a solo exhibition in a London chapel with Selma Feriani Gallery this October. You will find more of her work on her website AND Instagram.

Detail of a book woven paper sculpture.

Detail of “Athanatoi” (2021)

A wall piece made from folded pieces of paper taken from books.

“Apadana” (2021), woven paper from archaeological documentation of stone moved from Persepolis, 370 x 410 centimeters

Detail of folded and woven paper.

Detail of “Apadanis” (2021)

A sculpture made of woven paper from books.

“Cocha” (2021), hand-woven paper investiture made with selected pieces of atlases and maritime sea maps of Latin America, 130 x 150 x 45 centimeters

Detail of a woven paper sculpture from geographical maps.

Detail of “Cocha” (2021)

A sculpture made of woven paper from books, worn by a figure.

“Penelope” (2020), performative photo with woven dress made with scores of ‘The Return of Ulysses in the Homeland’ by Claudio Monteverdi, 120 x 180 centimeters

A sculpture made of woven paper from books.

“Autobiography of a Yogi” (2019), wove paper, 234 x 270cm

Pieces of paper folded into small bundles.

Work in progress for “Autobiography of a Yogi” (2019)

A sculpture made of woven paper from books.

“Quilla” (2021), investiture in woven paper made with period musical scores of the national anthems of Latin America, 150 x 150 x 40 centimeters

#Catalina Swinburn #paper #sculpture #textile #weaving

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