This summer, Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes presents a forest of sculpture at Fruitmarket. The vast cork floor, based on rug designs by Marian Pepler, immediately turns the gallery space into a welcoming home. As many pieces are made specifically for Fruitmarket, the art really compliments the space, especially the hanging pieces made of twisting rope and leather in the Warehouse, which echo the colours and architecture of the room.
Antunes engages extensively with female designers, architects, and artists overlooked by the history of modernism due to sexist perceptions. Behind the exhibition lies a wide variety of historic names and sources for which information can be easily found in accompanying text and publications. However, what becomes more apparent than names or personalities is the sculptural forms and what they do with the space. Antunes thinks of design heritage more through the craft involved than personal histories, honouring these overlooked voices through their skill and artistry. In this way, the exhibition is an ideal space for both those with specialist art history knowledge and those without, as the work is visually interesting outside of its art historical contexts. Each knot and intricate detail of the larger installation offers intrigue and beauty, inviting the audience to look closer.
What is most apparent about the exhibition is a sense of connection between its materials. The bamboo poles join the ceiling; the woven thread joins the bamboo; the lightbulbs join the wires, and the ropes twist and melt around themselves. This sense of connection is clear also in the collaboration of people and craft that influenced the exhibition. The cork and lino floors are inspired by architects Leslie Martin and Sadie Speight, and the metal net in the upstairs gallery is based on weaving by Bauhaus textile designer Lena Bergner, all made anew by Antunes.
The exhibition is a bringing-together of material that connects more than it stands alone, and of artists who collaborate and stand by one another with joined hands. No artist can make work that truly stands in isolation, and Antunes celebrates these collaborative connections with her network of craft and material.
Leonor Antunes: the apparent length of a floor area is showing at Fruitmarket till 8th October. More information here.