The session was led by artist Alice Betts in a room housing Ernesto Neto’s It happens when the body is anatomy of time at the From Death to Death and Other Small Tales exhibition in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The installation consists of tubes or pillars made using Lycra Tulle (a stretchy fabric), with clove, cumin and turmeric at their bases. This link I used earlier shows what it looks like.
To start we scattered among the scented columns of Ernesto Neto’s art work, and took up pencil and charcoal to draw 2 or 3 images of the scenery. Once we had finished a few quick drawings we relinquished ownership of them to the group, and instructed to work on the items however we wished to see what we could produce. We had scissors, tape, charcoal, and pencils at our disposal, but we could do whatever we wished. In keeping with the spice scented exhibit, there was also a jar of turmeric we could try using.
For my part, I knew that I’d have more fun with an interesting starting piece to work with so I grabbed the drawing that forms the top half of the above image before anyone else spotted the lovely detailing in it. I thought it reminiscent of columns in many theatres, with their elaborate decorations.
Looking around the other pieces available for inspiration, I noticed another drawing that had columns of similar widths and spacing, and I decided to try and make them work together as a united image. Fortunately, with the top piece placed upside-down, they fitted together remarkably well — almost as if by design.
I then set about cementing their amalgamation by adding coloured stripes of turmeric. I found that the turmeric didn’t stick by itself, but by pushing it into the charcoal to form charcoal-turmeric powder worked. To add a bit of variety, I then made some cuts to both halves.
I’m normally quite protective of “my bit of work”, so it was very interesting to take other people’s work and do something with them. I like how the end result looks.