Diptych, detail, Series Five, 2017.
My multi-media work exists at the intersection of contemporary fine art and design, creating playful works that combine traditional mediums with functional objects while addressing consumer and craft culture via an orientation towards pleasure. I seek a systematic approach to making as I'm addicted to that place where labor is transformed into art. Throughout my body of work, mass-produced objects; IKEA's annual/limited edition colors for drinking straws, big chain craft store chenille pipe cleaners, transparent packaging tape, are organized into arrangements of repetition or geometry, whose value as completed works are then redefined as nonfunctional (art).
My sight-related installations of large-scale hanging grids are made from thousands of hand dyed pipe cleaners that take months in preparation before being fully assembled onsite. These lo-fi grids have a plush and wonky geometry, an imaginative culture jam between useful consumer objects with their material allure and spectacle of display with a nod towards Naïve Pop and High Art Minimalism. My design aesthetic derives from a repurposed heritage, that of my childhood's immersion in Scandinavian Modern design and textiles, and the cultural importance of creating hugge (warmth). This influences my use of pattern, texture, color and light, as well as informing the restraint that tempers these elements.
I view my pipe cleaner work(s) as three-dimensional paintings, an exercise in breaking free from the dimensional limitations of the pictorial frame by exploring the poetics of space. Pipe cleaners provide lineation, repetition and mediated elements of color that visually and tacitly engage the viewer through the representation of holding attention. They (pipe cleaners) are exceptionally lightweight and cozily inviting yet withstand gravity and provide a hidden strength and functionality that belies their appearance, thus I exploit the contradictory qualities of this material in reference to the body, feminism, and the ownership of space. I view the aspects of pleasure and play in my work as acts of empowerment that border on defiance.
©Anne Yafi 2018
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