Liz Rideal

Liz Rideal

Ghost Sari I and II (2001)

Drop Sari (2012)

Light Curtain (2012)

Indian Sari Sample Book

Indian Sari Sample Book

The Forbes Watson sample books (The Textile Manufactures of India, 1866) provoked the opening staccato animation sequence of my film: many patterns vying for attention. The solution for mixing sari colours in space was gravity – used simply to reveal the mix of colour as saris fall like slow rain through white space. The tranquility of this is arrested by the cacophony of real-time colour in action: turbans, saris, cotton on the move in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Cotton embalms, surrounds, muffles, covers, stretches and breathes with us – from the cradle to the grave.

Liz Rideal, Artist

The sari becomes an abstract, mutable form, with its own dynamic, freed from the body to perform. Fluidity of form conjures art from banality and sensuality, creating anthropomorphic shapes from the moments of drapery caught as it tumbles and slides through the air. These are portraits of agitation and the different woven and coloured characteristics adopt roles like personae in plays, the juxtaposition of vibrant colours trembling optically.

The focus is on chance and the creation of form as cotton reacts in relation to air and the force of gravity. The sublimated sexual energy of the flying material implies a human presence and a variety of emotional states. Cotton embalms, surrounds, muffles, covers, stretches and breathes with us – from the cradle to the grave.

Liz Rideal lives in London and lectures at the Slade School of Fine Art and the National Portrait Gallery. Her work is held in Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark, Yale Center for British Art and The George Eastman Kodak International Museum of Photography and Film, USA. Recent solo shows include Hawthorn Hall of Mirrors, a permanent work at Churchill Hospital, Oxford (2009), and in 2006 –7 she made the projections Cloth Fair (at St Bart’s, London) and Fall, River, Snow across the lake at Compton Verney, Warwickshire.

View videos of Liz Rideal’s work on the interior and exterior of the Whitworth Art Gallery, and listen to the artist speak about her work on the COTTON:Global Threads blog.

Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 339, Philadelphia, USA.

Installation photos © 2012 Liza Lemsatef Cunningham

Liz Rideal’s Indian Journal

Artist Liz Rideal was invited by Professor Gill Perry of the Open Arts Archive to consider recording her views about the nature of creativity and the processes of making art, whilst on a cotton research trip in India funded by the British Academy. The purpose of the visit was to shoot film, take still images and collect samples of contemporary cotton; to comment on these processes and with her co-researcher Professor Stephanie Tailby, to interview people involved in the textile trade.

The video evolved into the installation works shown in COTTON:Global Threads. You can listen to these recordings on this section of the website: Liz Rideal’s Indian Journal.

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