Artist: Camilla Steinum
Exhibition title: Dubious Desire for Cleanliness
Venue: Rod Barton, London, UK
Date: January 23 – February 21, 2015
Photography: Courtesy of the artist and Rod Barton
Rod Barton is delighted to present Dubious Desire for Cleanliness, the first solo exhibition in the UK by Berlin based artist Camilla Steinum (born1986. Oslo, Norway). Featuring a selection of Steinum’s latest floor-based sculptural works, Dubious Desire for Cleanliness challenges the viewer to address ideas around what it is to call something an art object and what exactly can be considered the material content of art.
Through careful consideration of materials Steinum emphasises the qualities and character of objects and materials. Predominantly working with textiles, felt, ready-made objects and metal frameworks, these materials when carefully arranged and manipulated create juxtapositions that highlight their inherent differences, or as the artist puts it their ‘material contrast’ – dirty to clean, organic to manmade or small to large.
Many of the objects used by Steinum are existing items that form part of our daily routine – a shower curtain, a handrail or a cup. These non-descript items are pulled away from their traditional uses as separator or container and reimagined into sculptural assemblages. This shift from structured to fluid is a key theme in much of Steinum’s work and can be seen as a direct response to her work with textiles.
Steinum sees her textile work in two distinct strands – felting and work created through weaving on a loom. The inherent differences in production with the structure and order of the loom on the one hand and more organic nature of felt, lie at the heart of much of Steinum’s theoretical grounding. Citing Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (1980) moving away from the loom and its production through grid, it’s connections to mass-production, capitalism and the industrial. Instead felt relates far more to the hand made through the use of wool and, un-mechanised mode of production. Working with felt, will never produce a clear linear narrative, but rather will grow organically – this contrast of organic vs structured is vital in the production of Steinum’s work.