Richard Tuttle, I Don’t Know, or The Weave of Textile Language, (Installation View), all images courtesy Tate Modern
The largest work ever created by American sculptor Richard Tuttle (1941) is currently on view at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, which has been the host to some of the world’s most striking works of monumental contemporary art. I Don’t Know, or The Weave of Textile Language was a commissioned work, composed of vast cuts of fabrics designed by Tuttle himself from both manmade and natural fibers. Three vibrant colors are hung in a bold, majestic display, making use of its coiling form to generate a sense of movement within the massive hall.
Red and marigold-hued swaths are draped along wooden cutout forms, as if flags on a ship, or vines wrapping around a rod. With the ambiguous title “I Don’t Know …” Tuttle leaves the abstract work open to individual interpretation, while directly addressing the formal and material construction of the work. On Monday, March 9th, Head of Exhibitions at Tate Modern, Achim Borchardt-Hume will lead a one-hour talk of the commissioned work in Turbine Hall, so that viewers may learn more about the sculpture.
Richard Tuttle, I Don’t Know, or The Weave of Textile Language (Installation View)
Tuttle himself says about the sculpture that it is a “radical gesture looking specifically at the perception of color…which is a completely inexhaustable subject.” Looking at issues of perception with regard to color leads to issues of individual perception in general, and Tuttle uses his textiles to take the viewer through the process of understanding perception itself. “The room and the work simultaneously argue for the support of ambiguity,” in a world that Tuttle says is “constantly trying to crush the ambiguous in every way.”
The work will remain on view through April 6th at Tate’s Turbine Hall.
— E. Baker
Exhibition Page [Tate]