Little 8 (piccole tette)
13 Apr 22 by justatest
I received an invitation from a Florentine gallery called Otto Luogo dell'Arte (translates as Eight Place of Art) to make an "8" for a show to take place on the 8th March, International Women's Day.

Exhibited piece

Splashes of glue remained as I´d found them quite suitable to the piece in the end. Fortunately the spat over the gift was cleared up and the gallery agreed to return the work after the show. They also kindly sent me this image taken by the house photographer who (unlike me) obviously knows what s/he´s doing.

More fabric

Second jute layer

I received an email from ladies of the gallery stating that the show had been delayed until the 16th, instead of the 8th March.
A bit disappointed (as I'd been intent on having this ready for international women's day), I emailed them back saying at least it gives me more time to mull over the piece.
They then sent an interesting reply warning me that whatever I was preparing will be a gift to the gallery, and will not be returned. I thanked them for the advance notice, but then said I was more used to deciding myself that I was the one to give a gift, and not someone else deciding that for me.
I added that I thought it was an exploitation of the artist, as all the artists I know cannot afford to donate their works when they're generally poor as church mice, and eagerly look on a show as an opportunity to sell.
I had been hoping to open a debate on the state of artists making art today, but needless to say, it opened instead the floodgates of acrimony, and they angrily withdrew their offer of a proposal that I make them a gift. Very considerate of them.
Anyway enough of that. Here's a couple of photos of the current status. I've added a new layer of raw jute leaving the breasts exposed as the gesso'ed layer beneath (but they've gotten a bit splashed with the rabbitskin glue in the process). I then mixed a dusty pink oil paint thinking it'll give a feminine touch to the protruding wires, but I think instead they look like bloody spikes giving it a slightly gruesome aspect.
Let's see how it looks when it dries. I'll probably give the breasts a clean coating of gesso, and take it from there.

Sealed cloth

Gesso on jute

The jute has been given a coat of gesso, is dry and ready for whatever's next. I'm thinking of leaving the breasts white as they are now, and adding another layer of raw jute to the frame as a contrast. At any rate, I'd better speed up - it's the last day of Feb and this has to be delivered in time for women's day 8th march.


Jute layer

Gives it a more satisfying natural look? That's the jute layer applied, and waiting to dry out. I'm sort of dallying with leaving the raw cloth as it is, or do I add a new coat of gesso to bring it back white again. Not sure.

Nipple holes

Circles of 8

So here I've cut out the holes of the eight. How's it going? I can't say I'm terribly enthusiastic with the progress so far. The holes sort of help by adding a modicum of curiosity, but as yet there's still no reward for the viewer, and the piece is sloppy and absolutely forgettable. I'm not sure if I'll be able to give this thing a little meaning, so I'm banking on the next stage of applying the cloth - jute (yet again) I think - to provide some idea of how to endow it with interest.

Gesso on paper

A hot coat of gesso to give it a uniform finish to get an idea of a pretty boring box. I'll try adding some substance to give a more smooth curve to the rounded sections, but I'm not terribly hopeful.

Paper layer

paper with hot rabbit skin glue

Uh uh.. that's not exactly what I was hoping for. It's now a lumpy formless mess waiting to dry out. Seems pretty mediocre at this point and I can't say I'm terribly confident with it's progress.

Base structure

Eight in a wire box

The wire frame structure. A little difficult to work with at such small dimensions, and I'm a little concerned that it might end up quite visually boring. Nevertheless better get on with it as it needs to be ready in a couple of weeks, and I'm curious to see how the frame when covered will appear.

8 ideas

doodle for otto

Dimensions specs are 20cm x 20cm so it´ll be a small piece, but the size is endearing in it´s own way.
The figure 8/women of course naturally did lead to breasts but I didn´t want the work to be so literal. Enclosing it in a box might create some visual interest as a counterbalancing device.