Can mohair inform architecture? Can architecture inform mohair?
The artwork is a pipe cleaner drop/nest/space, made in the national colour of Mexico and installed under a pedestrian bridge in Maravatio, Mexico. This is one in a series of nests made in various locations during Grobler’s travels, including Soloturn (Switzerland), Johannesburg (South Africa) and New Delhi (India). Each time, the colour is selected in response to the quality of the specific place.�
No more worlds to conquer
No more worlds to conquer is made from woven ropes typically used in the mining industry. The mining industry is an important source of employment and capital for South Africa. At the same time, some companies are charged with exploitive practices of labour and the environment. Grobler's installation comments on this complex web.
This is a performance still from Cat Tail, 2015, in Maravatio, Mexico.
The artist is weaving with cat tail, a now invasive species that is taking over bodies of water. Its growth had previously been kept in check when it was used to weave baskets. Today the local populace prefers to use plastic bags instead. Grobler is also dressed in the clothes worn by Quinceañera, a local folklore figure, so her artwork also alludes to the fairy tales - of Mexico and elsewhere in the world - of a girl in distress having to sew/weave/labour to redeem/save herself.
and she makes a floating mohair "jellyfish" (our description). In this clip, Liza Grobler explains how she came to make it.
a traumatized landscape
Before describing the next work, it is important to explain that a great fire burned for weeks through thousands of hectares of nature reserve lying between Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope the year before the work was made. Burnt indigenous plants, proteas and fynbos left blackened carcasses. Burning may well be a natural cycle for the plants, generating new life, but many animals were injured or killed.
The traumatised landscape and the natural protective qualities of mohair came together in Liza crocheting mohair around the scorched protea stems. The tenderness of the resulting object is strangely compelling.
Mohair, charcoaled fynbos
Perhaps it is the mixing of the rough and sharp with the mohair that reminds us not to take the softness of mohair for granted. Besides the hair itself, its oil or lanolin also lends itself as a softening agent - this is why angora goat farmers have surprisingly soft hands!
This may have led to the idea of using both the lanolin and the mohair to make an all-encompassing spa experience.
Find out more about the mohair iteration via this outcome book, please click the image to view. The book is also available for download from our website.
Social Fabric is a not-for-profit project. We would like to thank the DOEN Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Fashion Department, this iteration's tertiary partner.
Contact us at: SocialFabricSA@gmail.com
Credits and Links
2015, pipe cleaners, dimensions variable
No More Worlds to Conquer
2016-17, mining nets, crochet, performance
installation for Women's Work a group show at Iziko South African National Gallery, December 2016 to April 2017
2017, Performative installation (mohair, spraypaint, hoola hoops and polyester with clarinetist)
210 x 120 x 120 cm
All photo credits: Liza Grobler
Find out more about Liza Grobler
Films of Liza Grobler
Videographer: Yasmin Hankel
to see the full films of Liza in conversation with Pierre Fouche about their respective experiences at their residencies
and the ideas that came out of the residencies
Find out more about SAMIL SA