Nine Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2013
Fold Here explores our desire to create structure and order in our lives. Every day we think, we decide, we try to make sense of our schedules, our emails, and our surroundings. We have layers of stuff, closets with things we never use, we have a mess. The response is to take action. In this piece I used the act of folding to give form and define space with materials that are at first, flat and without dimension. The activity gives structure. With each day of folding, there is a reorganization, as elements from multiple sources are directed toward one purpose, toward a sense of order.
I asked friends and colleagues to contribute clothing, sheets and towels towards this project. The response was overwhelming: over sixty people sorted through their closets and drawers and gave me over 2,200 items.
The exhibition began with mounds of the donated articles covering the floor. For the duration of the show, I was in the space sorting and folding, with the ultimate goal of building a sculpture of the folded pieces across the east wall of the gallery. On occasion, viewers would help me fold.
In the second week of the show, Linda K. Johnson presented a dance performance in response to the ideas presented in Fold Here. Throughout the month, Rachel J. Siegel documented the evolution of the work, and her photographs were displayed on the north wall of the gallery.
The repetition in this performance created an awareness of the movements, color and textures involved in a mundane task, revealing its grace, vibrance, and subtlety. Engaging so many participants demonstrated the impact of connecting parallel efforts in a common cause; people were encouraged by working together. By highlighting the aesthetics of action and gesture, this piece endeavored to reveal what is beautiful in the everyday things that we do – alone and together.
Photos above: Rachel Siegel
At the end of the show all of the usable clothing and linens were donated to Innovative Housing Incorporated, a local nonprofit organization.
Photos: Stephen Funk unless otherwise noted.