opened a major new commission by artist Christian Newby, displayed in the City Dome exhibition space. Responding to this remarkable building, originally built to house an astronomical telescope, Christian has created a large-scale, highly decorative, architectural intervention in the form of a nine-metre-wide textile, Flower-Necklace-Cargo-Net, which reshapes the space.
The images depicted on the tapestry are an intuitive reaction to typical rug and textile design and subvert traditional motifs such as flowers, geometric patterns, birds and shells. In this new work these motifs are pictorially contained by a large net that envelopes the whole work and alludes to our shared experience of enclosure during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Christians practice focuses on experimental textile production. This new work for his largest exhibition to date combines artists mark-making with industrial carpet tufting to explore how questions of labour, authorship and materiality define the fine and applied arts. Boredom>Mischief>Fantasy>Radicalism>Fantasy proposes industrial textile as a structural model for how we tacitly encounter a variety of broader cultural and economic questions.
Through the process of production using an industrial hand-held carpet-tufting gun, Christian explores the potential capacity of this machine as a mark-making tool in place of its primary function in a rote manufacturing process. As a tool, it oscillates between the high volume of commercial production and the emboldened mastery and skill associated with artisanal handcrafts. For Flower-Necklace-Cargo-Net, Christian uses the tufting gun as a fundamental equivalent to a pencil, spray can, paintbrush, or tattoo needle, to question how textile works are positioned between craft and fine art.
An accompanying specially-produced newspaper, Ornament & Crimes, offers a context for the new tapestry and includes; a new essay by writer Andrew Bourne; drawings; writing and scores by Christian, which offer in-depth information on the artist's practice; the decision-making processes around the materials he used; drawing of marks he wants to make, and notation on how to use and maintain the tufting gun to achieve them.
Christian Newby is an artist based in London. He graduated with an MFA from Glasgow School of Art (2009). Selected exhibitions include: Brick-Wall-Spider-Web-Post-It-Note, Beers London (2019), Yo Compro Calidad, Matadero, Madrid (2017); Tetracontameron Space Between, London (2016) and Le Club des Sous lEau Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016). Christian has been an artist in residence at the Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU, Hong Kong (2019), Matadero Madrid El Ranchito exchange with Arthouse Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria (2017); and URRA/Gasworks Residency, Buenos Aires (2015). He is currently undertaking a PhD at the Contemporary Art Research Centre, Kingston University, London.
Christian Newby is represented by Patricia Fleming Gallery, where he is also presenting The drum, the chime, the scrape, the splash, the jerk, a solo exhibition from March 26May 29, 2021.