Untangled, HD Video Work, 2018
In Performing Textiles Series
Dunedin Public Art Gallery Commission
UNTANGLED, HD VIDEO, 2018
Commissioned work of Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Edition of 4+3 AP
A process of carding is usually a long and enduring process as the yarns are usually easily tangled. In Untangled (2018), Vatanajyankur uses her body to perform an almost impossible task which is untangling the yarn. Untangled shows the difficulties in her developing process while working on this series as the yarn seemed to be easily knotted. As she performed "Knit" which was a live performance, her yarn kept her trapped within its knots while her body become stuck inside it. Untangled shows a hopeful thought of solving the twisted and chaotic situations.
Plunging viewers into a dreamlike world of candy-bright hues and mind-bending physical performance, Kawita Vatanajyankur explores the binaries of Western culture, juxtaposed against the mechanised versus traditional body. By accessing elements of Thai femininity, she invokes a powerful sense of physicality, uncovering a world of often-invisible domestic labour by painfully testing the limits of her own body. Her dynamic video art is a springboard to explore the value and understanding of the performative body, and the role of gesture within that very performance.
Vatanajyankur’s work is caught in this moment of stasis—time-consuming and physically exhausting. The tonality of happy day-glow colours juxtaposed against dark humour and undercurrents of violence brings violent gravity to her work—drawing attention to mechanisation, and highlighting the historical trajectory of feminist art.
Performing Textiles is a 2018 body of work, capturing the physical manifestation of manual labour processes undertaken by women in Thailand. Often-invisible, this exploration of domesticity is particularly telling of Vatanajyankur's homeland, where daily chores aren’t always assisted by electronics or white goods and are often tasked to women. Her suite of videos offers a vignette into the physicality and vulnerability of the feminine body.
As a collection, Performing Textiles provokes questions surrounding the place of cultural identity, feminism, labour, consumption and lived experiences—classified through a lens of hyper-coloured realism and the intensity of physical versus material composition.