sculptures with a twist
September 17, 2020 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Where the twist isn’t really that these are all women artists – although that is indeed the case, and all stumbled upon through @womensart1 - it’s that these very different artists from lesser known to more established are using all sorts of materials and techniques to create twisty and spirally forms, from big to gigantic to minuscule, from nature-inspired to abstract to something in between. And it’s just that they are all peculiarly and uniquely amazing and all deserve to be known. And, for a proper twist, we even have hair sculptures (feminist hair sculptures, no less!). Come in this virtual gallery for a full list of links to the artists’ own websites, instagram and yes even tiktok

Karin van der Molen (Instagram)
a Dutch artist who creates permanent and ephemeral environmental sculptures and installations in forests, parks and on buildings

Ellen Jewett (Instagram)
a Canadian artist who takes inspiration from plants and animals to create “natural history surrealist sculpture”

Niyoko Ikuta (featured on Artsy | Arch2o | Artnet | Colossal | and in this video showcasing one of her amazing creations)
a Japanese artist who uses layers of laminated sheet glass to create spiraling geometric sculptures

Sayaka Ganz (Instagram | also see here and here | previously)
a Japanese artist who makes giant wildlife sculptures from salvaged plastic

Anna & the Willow (Instagram)
a British artist who creates outdoor sculptures made from English-grown rods of willow

Soo Sunny Park (Instagram)
a Korean American artist who creates large-scale abstract installations of moving light, reflection, and shadow

Ágnes Herczeg (Instagram)
a Hungarian artist who creates small artworks with found wood, lace and embroidery

Meredith Woolnough (Instagram)
an Australian artist who creates embroidered sculptures of leaves, corals and other forms of nature

and last but most definitely not least, the one and only…
Laetitia Ky (Instagram | Tiktok, also featured on Artnet | CNN | BBC | Elle)
a feminist artist from the Ivory Coast who creates sculptures from her hair, twisting it into all sorts of shapes from animals to music instruments to a well-deserved crown
posted by bitteschoen (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I follow @womensart1 as well and they've been really nice to see in my mostly-rage-inducing twitter feed. I think they've been posting a lot more in the past couple of months.

Thanks for the post, they really do promote some amazing artists!
posted by Wilbefort at 9:01 AM on September 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

This is definitely one of the best things on Twitter. It's very well curated - I frequently see work I'm very excited by.
posted by latkes at 9:05 AM on September 17, 2020

Oooo kaaay,, actually looking more closely at your post --- there is some amazing stuff here! There is something really exciting about this diverse array of materials. Thanks for the very cool post!
posted by latkes at 9:10 AM on September 17, 2020

Alas, they have a tendency to not include trans women artists and have misgendered trans male artists in the past.

(@womensart3 is a trans inclusive version, but they're a lot less active)
posted by dinty_moore at 9:17 AM on September 17, 2020 [8 favorites]

Some more information on @womensart1 and their association with terfs. Which really sucks, because I do like the artists and the amount of fiber art that they have a tendency to cover.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:21 AM on September 17, 2020 [7 favorites]

Popped in here to say exactly what dinty_moore did about the association with TERFs.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:36 AM on September 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh no! That fucking sucks.
posted by latkes at 9:50 AM on September 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

yes even titktok…

I seriously had to see if this was a genuine typo or if it was intentional.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:07 AM on September 17, 2020

Those glass sculputres are somewhere in the ballpark of the surf wave photos I crave. So amazing that glass!!!!
posted by Oyéah at 11:10 AM on September 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yikes didn't know that either, just recently started following the account. Fuck TERFs!
But I will keep following the account because they really do highlight a lot of interesting artists. Thanks dinty_moore for the mention of the more inclusive account.
Anyway I just used the Twitter account as a starting point to dig up more about these artists so I hope you all find them interesting in themselves regardless of who brought them to our attention!
posted by bitteschoen at 11:53 AM on September 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

dlugoczaj: lol ouch that was a totally unintentional typo, mods please hope me
posted by bitteschoen at 11:55 AM on September 17, 2020

This account is one of the brightest spots on my Twitter feed, and has drawn my attention to many wonderful artists I might not otherwise have heard of. One of the specific criticisms linked above was that the account 'misgenders the agender' Claude Cahun, though I wonder if the subversions of gender Cahun performed would line up so closely with contemporary ideas of being 'agender', and I do believe that it's always a mistake to apply such specifically modern definitions of identity to people who lived and worked in very different social contexts decades ago.
posted by jokeefe at 2:39 PM on September 17, 2020

I do think it's telling that the account owner decided to defend her decision by claiming that the account isn't open to 'political football' and then thanking the TERFs that came to defend her. I'm not really interested in telling people what they should or shouldn't enjoy, but I did think that the TERF association should at least be noted so people can make informed decisions.

This doesn't mean that you should avoid the artists who womensart1 promotes at all, they definitely deserve their recognition (and the rest of this post is great!). I've seen some of Anna & The Willow's stuff in person, and it's fantastic, and Niyoko Ikuta's new to me but fantastic.

Laetitia Ky's work is also great - it's all so playful, and finding joy in black women's hair feels powerful and political in itself. From the description I was imagining something that might have grown out of victorian hair jewelry/braiding, but this is completely different and even better.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:09 PM on September 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Quick meta poll: would it be ok if we could delete this and I'll repost only the post and link to the artists without mentioning the twitter account?
I actually had originally thought as alternative I might do a single post for each artist because each is deserving of attention in their own right. It just happened that I saw a series of tweets about sculpture so I put these together.
Like I said I just recently stumbled on the twitter account after noticing someone from my feed liking something, then discovering it was followed by about thirty people in my feed then thinking ok well this is cool might as well follow myself. Didn't dig any deeper than that! Hate to learn that they responded so badly when confronted with not being inclusive. While this is good to know I wouldn't want this to spoil the discovery and enjoyment of these artists so honest question really: is everyone ok with deleting and reposting individual posts about them?
posted by bitteschoen at 12:19 AM on September 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Who is helped by erasing a woman's work (curation is work) based on unsubstantiated claims of bigotry? She expressed an opinion about a person* whose identity is in dispute, was descended upon, and thanked people supporting her. She didn't even name an account also accused of some bigotry for "guilt by association", leaving us what? Guilt by vague implication?

*(I have seen Claude Cahun described by different people as a transman or agender, with no tolerance for other interpretation. wikipedia is filled with arguments about which pronouns to use. Which is misgendering? Who decides which is the sole, correct gender/pronoun?)
posted by seraphine at 2:29 AM on September 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

seraphine, unfortunately it doesn’t seem the claims are that "unsubstantiated" based on her responses as linked by dinty_moore above. It’s a shame, she could have responded very differently if she didn’t mean to be exclusionary. Instead she chose to be super dismissive and defensive. Talking of "political football" in itself about the question of being inclusive and not limited to cis women artists is not very cool either. It’s a shame really because that is good curation work, indeed.
posted by bitteschoen at 5:15 AM on September 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Quick meta poll: would it be ok if we could delete this and I'll repost only the post and link to the artists without mentioning the twitter account?

Well I, for one, say please don't. It's not really worth it, imo, to delete the context within which this work is being located and shared, and people can make up their own minds about whether to follow or not. This right here, from seraphine (above), should be enough on its own to give pause: "Who is helped by erasing a woman's work (curation is work)"?
posted by jokeefe at 2:31 PM on September 18, 2020

Trans people are helped when you don't elevate people who believe their existence is a political debate to be authorities. It sucks that she couldn't just, you know, feature some trans women artists, but there you go. For one thing, all this work that bitteschoen did on this post is being overshadowed by conversation on how TERF-adjacent* do you have to be before it's unacceptable, even if you're a good art curator.

For Claude Cahun, I think that adding them into a collection that is defined by womanhood is a gross misunderstanding of their art and outlook. While they're not around to comment, we have a good amount of evidence on how they felt about gender, to say the least.

*so the other part of this is that a lot of the stuff that the owner said in response is something that seems really familar for those of us that have the misfortune of interacting with TERFs online, even if it's dogwhistley - pushing back on questions about the inclusion of trans women by pointing out that they have 'LGBT' representation, for example - usually it's only the LGB part.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:05 PM on September 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

It sucks that she couldn't just, you know, feature some trans women artists, but there you go.

Or she could have just responded with something like, oh, I’m sorry I haven’t featured any trans women so far but that’s not deliberate, now that it’s been brought to my attention I will make an effort from now on to look up and feature trans women artists too! etc. Something like that. That sort of response would have been a non-exclusionary response. The fact she chose to avoid the question altogether and call it political football to even bring it up tells us enough about her views on trans rights. She just doesn’t want to even consider including trans women and doesn’t want to have to answer about it. That really sucks. And yeah the Claude Cahun "reverting back to her name" thing, not cool either. She is the one doing the erasure here.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:22 AM on September 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

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