Quipu Womb

The most impressive artwork in EMST venue of Documenta14 in Athens within the category of spectacles was the artwork of the Chilean Cecilia Vicuna (b. 1948), Quipu Womb (the story of the Red Thread) (2017), Dyed Wool (fig. 18). It took almost two floors of the building, and it was visually impressive. Cecilia Vicuna presented a soft sculpture, quipped, (an ancient pre-Columbian art of the quipu) a form of writing involving intricated knotting patterns. Vicuna referred to these particular works as quipoems- a contraction of poem and quipu (Documenta14, 2017g). This particular quipu consisted of giant strands of untreated wool, sourced from a local Greek provider and dyed a bright red of honour of a synthetic religious tradition that via the umbilical cord of menstrual symbolism-connects an Andean mother goddess with the maritime mythologies of ancient Greece (Documenta14, 2017g).

Vicuna’s artwork entailed all the concepts that run in this exhibition including, language, rhythm, Greek history and global traditions. Additionally, it gave the extra value of this most spectacular piece of artwork that has been made by a woman dealing with woman’s body function. The most hidden and taboo function, the woman’s period, which in many societies is perceived as dirt, becomes in Vicuna’s hand a poem, a celebration.

IMG_5161Fig. 18: Photo: Dia Mexi, 2017

 

Extract from Dia Mexi’s MA Thesis “Documenta14: Learning From Athens: How to Unlearn What to Expect From A Contemporary Art Exhibition”

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