New Works By Tonico Lemos Auad To Be Shown In Exhibition Announced For Cample Line Autumn Programme

CAMPLE LINE is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by artist Tonico Lemos Auad, opening 2 October 2021. It is the first solo presentation of Auad’s work in Scotland.

In his work, Auad explores physical manifestations of belief, specifically looking at the personal or cultural significance afforded objects in everyday life. Drawing on a wide range of materials and objects and often encompassing notions of architecture and landscape, Auad’s unique way of working subverts traditional techniques associated with craft such as embroidery, woodcarving and stonemasonry.

I try to always work with things that are very mundane, within easy reach, like cloth, stones, plants, things that are very present in our daily life. I think that immediately creates some response, some kind of intimacy and complicity because you are working with something that everyone experiences at some level on a daily basis. Then I add the layers, a poetic layer and other influence – Tonico Lemos Auad

For his exhibition at CAMPLE LINE, Auad brings together six new sculptural works made using reclaimed wooden beams and six new textiles. Materials that he has used frequently before, separately or in combination, he has said of wood and textile, ‘they really dialogue very closely in terms of architecture.’ Auad has placed this new body of work across two levels at Cample, with a new large-scale sculptural installation placed upstairs in direct material dialogue with the architectural features of the space. The building’s original use as a row of millworkers’ cottages within the former Cample Mill complex and subsequent history of repurposing and reuse provides a compelling ground for this work, which extends Auad’s longstanding engagement with architecture, landscape and human interaction.


As José Augusto Ribeiro has said, ‘[Auad’s] works point to moments and places that are different from here and now, sometimes a distant past and more often an open field of possiblities’. 


The exhibition builds upon Auad’s presentation for Stephen Friedman Gallery at Frieze London in 2019, in which he included a selection of wall-based weavings alongside a series of new totemic sculptures comprising reclaimed timber and oak, for which he took initial inspiration from the driftwood sculptures made by Derek Jarman in his garden of Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Kent. As can be seen with Violin (2019), Auad gives the reclaimed wood new life through the use of traditional modes of carpentry and joinery and by combining them with materials such as wool, linen and cotton.


Tonico Lemos Auad, Frieze London, October 2019, Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery. With Mamma Anderssen


For the work at Cample, Auad has used oak, douglas fir and baltic pine beams reclaimed from buildings that are disused or scheduled for demolition. Auad has left the beams largely unmodified in their size, the longest beam being 269cm in length, and each retains functional or decorative traces such as ties, chisel marks, or hinge recesses, that relate to its original function as a lintel, truss or door jamb. Of the beams, Auad has said, ‘they will closely retain their original configuration and traces as architectural structures. There are still the empty spaces of joints and pins, cuts for fixtures etc. To which we are adding some subtle carving and textile elements.’ 


Auad has situated two new sculptural groupings downstairs, which both include freestanding beams placed upright, which bear some carpentry and textile interventions. As a counterpoint to their verticality, he has installed four large works upstairs that each comprise a beam elevated and laid flat upon the exposed roof trusses, from which a further prone beam is suspended with bronze rods. By placing them in this way, Auad has used the whole of the upstairs space as something of a loom – the roof trusses providing a kind of transverse warp over and under which the reclaimed beams seemingly ‘thread’.


Auad has said: ‘I thought I would like to hang sculptures in this space because of the rhythm that the exposed trusses propose… [installing] actually felt like weaving a new structure inside the structure of the building, pretty much as a textile… going above and below, above and below. It is very much the movement of a textile practice.’


On the reclaimed beams there are finely wrought interventions into the wood surface – Auad has worked with specialist woodcarvers who have lightly chiselled and textured some of the beam faces or used marquetry techniques to fill in areas of grain that have opened up. New wood elements draw our attention to small structural cavities, apertures and holes that are remnants of the beams’ past uses, as do textile components including richly coloured ropes handwoven by skilled collaborators and a fine linen weaving from which Auad has picked out threads.


Alongside the sculptural works, Auad has also included four new textile works constructed using a Tunisian knit process, which Auad suggests gives them a woven-like feel. Made with wool, cotton and paper yarns from Japan, Iceland and the UK, two of the works use only blacks – which when placed next to each other modulate between jet black, blue, brown and grey. A third work includes pale arch-like elements, which make a reference to Cample Viaduct, which sits adjacent to CAMPLE LINE. Auad has also stitched into the works with black thread, picking out indistinct shapes and forms, such as birds and eyes.


Lastly, a pair of unframed weavings hang on the two gable walls of the upstairs space. The larger of the two is made with pre-existing Indian textile, itself made with recycled threads, including those from saris. Woven forms have been added to the front of the textile, including a vessel-like in shape, with parts hanging loose. The smaller weaving has been made new with the unpicked threads from a section of the Indian textile. Auad has integrated shapes and forms into the structure itself.


George Vasey, Curator at Wellcome Collection, London, has written that Auad demonstrates an ‘emotional acuity with his use of colour and material…While his work is often laboriously constructed, there is a refreshing simplicity in the way it looks, reminding us of the potential of the human hand.’


Tom Jeffreys will write a text in response to the exhibition, which will be available from late October.The exhibition runs until 12 December and is supported by Creative Scotland and The Henry Moore Foundation.


CAMPLE LINE will reopen by appointment and with continuing measures in place. It continues to monitor and respond to Scottish and UK Government requirements and guidance, so please check the website nearer the time for details.

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