Sometimes undoing Something
Changes Nothing explores connection and separation within relationships
through a collaborative performance art piece.
Using knitting, the artist looks at the historical weight it carries for women and their role, and how much, or little that has changed over millennia. For Lucy Lippard 'The impulse towards constant movement is one more confrontation of that tension, inherent in modern life and art, between the ephemeral and the permanent - or life and death' (1983, p.122). That word tension is central to knitting, being a term used to determine the size of the stitch and therefore of the finished piece. Ultimately though it refers to the capacity of the finished garment to return to its original shape after it has been stretched. It is this flexibility that sees knitting used in so many unexpected ways. Tension, a word we associate with conflict, hostility and emotional strain, is in this case more about accommodation, about the capacity to bend and yield.
Ricí Ní Chléirigh's practice explores this same duality both within our lives and our relationships and in how we engage with the world. The ways in which we bend and yield to situations over which we have no control. The ways in which we contort ourselves to survive the forces around us lead to inner tensions. In Sometimes Undoing Something Changes Nothing, the artist and her daughter each knit a whole jumper, using the yarn from the jumper the other wears. In the end, they both put on the jumper they have just knit from the yarn of the jumper the other wore at the beginning. They knit furiously, each taking, pulling the yarn as needed, both giving, bowing forward to allow the other take what they need. The performance tries to examine the dynamic between mother and child, between the artist and this other who came from her. As she knits, she still looks out for her, lifting her eyes to see she is ok, that she is not struggling. Yet as her hair hides her face as hers does hers, the piece speaks more of estrangement than love, never acknowledging each other and never speaking.
Sometimes undoing Something Changes Nothing will be performed on the occasion of the opening of Sinead McDonald's solo exhibition Archetype/ Uchronia and Debbie Godsell's solo exhibitionThe infinite whatever in Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford, on Thursday, August 31st 2017 at 7.30pm.
All are welcome.