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Japanese crafts that heal us

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Many of the most interesting works, both at Eternally Yours and elsewhere, that feature restoration refuse to obscure the changes and labor that went into them. In her later years, Louise Bourgeois, the subject of an extraordinary retrospective, focused on distorted woven human figures, whose seams were still visible. “I’ve always been fascinated by the magical power of needles,” she once said. “Needles are used to repair damage.” It is an allegation of forgiveness.” In the case of Bourgeois, the alluded damage rewound to her youth. Her unfaithful father, her mother who died when her daughter was only 20 years old. And an act of care that might protect a person from that pain. British feminist scholar Jacqueline Rhodes, in her book Mothers of Mothers of Mothers Task, wrote the expectation that mothers must “fix the world and make it safe”. In this regard, she wrote in her 1976 essay, Conditions for Work: The Common World of Women, about women who “work to protect the world, maintain the world, and restore the world.” It echoes the American poet Adrian Rich. of a frayed, tattered family life.”

Repair has emerged as a particular concern, with growing appreciation for the way women-coded household chores have puzzled generations of artists. A visible stitch is used. Created as an expanded form of remembrance during the AIDS crisis, Leonard’s work consisted of hundreds of fruit peels. After the meat was eaten, the hide was wired and sewn into a whole Frankenstein approximation. Even stitches could not fully restore what was lost, Leonard learned from his friend and fellow artist David Wojnarowitz, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1992. , learned sewing as a medium. “This restoration can’t mend a real wound, but it offered me something. Maybe time, or the rhythm of sewing,” she later reflected. , was close to resurrection. “They are like memories. These skins are no longer the fruit itself, but a shape reminiscent of the original. You pay homage to what remains.”

There is sincerity in the works of artists such as Leonard, Bourgeois and Edwards. Repairs are attractive for many reasons. It helps us think about how we value what we have. It makes us aware of what to waste and what to keep. But hopefully it asks us to be more thoughtful. Some are uplifting. Such works ask us to approach repair as an act, rather than simply restoring what was before. It invites us to come closer and see the change, the point where the needle pierces the surface and attracts something new.

Eternally Yours runs until 25th September at Somerset House in London

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