Red is the colour of... 2019 was installed as an immersive installation at B-Wing exhibition, in Shepton Mallet Prison from 21 Sept - 6 Oct 2019.
It's a series of about 40 red knitted abstract sculptures. Most of the sculptures were knitted directly in response to the prison environment. When I first visited the decommissioned prison, I was very concious of the traces of emotion left behind by those who had been incarcerated there - grief, rage, remorse, loneliness, despair, guilt, regret. I spent the summer knitting long thin red sculptures, many of which I left to unravel.
I installed the sculptures site responsively on the first floor of the prison wing, in and out of the cells, connecting them with red wool. Alongside the new sculptures, I also installed a number of larger red knitted sculptures that I had knitted previously, including the diptych, Heart of darkness. Like Theseus in the Greek myth, visitors were invited to follow the thread through the labyrinth of cells.
Setting knitting in such an unexpected place adds to the impact of the installation. Anthropologist Mary Douglas calls it 'matter out of place' and suggests that this provokes a range of conflicting responses. For more details of my research in this area, see Provocations on my MA Fine Art Research website,
The title of the piece was inspired by a couple of quotes from Louise Bourgeois:
‘Red is the colour of blood
Red is the colour of paint
Red is the colour of violence
Red is the colour of danger
Red is the colour of shame
Red is the colour of jealousy
Red is the colour of grudges
Red is the colour of blame.’
‘Colour is stronger than language, it’s a subliminal communication.’
I genuinely knit whenever and wherever I am. It feels as if my knitting becomes part of me, absorbing my experiences, thoughts and feelings as well as aspects of the environment, like dirt and smells. Maybe my knitting is like one of Bly's Shadow sacks?
Here is a video of my knitting adventure that summer, I knit therefore I am, 2019