Combining elements from Chilean craft techniques, natural tinting processes and repetitive mechanised movement, Unzueta’s work explores labour’s technological, historical and social impact on the human condition, and its relationship to nature.
Tools for Life is the first ever UK solo exhibition of New York-based Chilean artist Johanna Unzueta (b. 1974). Featuring a large-scale felt installation, a collection of garments, a film shot at a textile factory in Chile, a wall mural and a selection of freestanding geometric drawings inspired by natural patterns, the exhibition reflects Unzueta’s interest in shared histories of community, geography, nature and labour practices.
Through her manipulation of materials, scale, and manual processes, Unzueta draws the humanity out of the industrial. This exhibition prompts us to consider the unseen human actions and efforts required to produce the objects and technologies we so unthinkingly rely on in our everyday lives.
“My mum always said I learned to weave and knit before I learned to read and write. Hands are tools for me and I can’t disconnect that.”
– Johanna Unzueta, 2019