It is tempting to lessen what artist Kalliopi Monoyios does down to the cliche of “turning trash into treasure,” for the reason that she does make works of artwork out of the factors that folks toss absent.
Unlimited single-use plastics: the familiar packaging that holds Doritos, diapers, Oreos, soda pop, bathroom paper, coffee, bread, dish cleaning soap, tortillas and juice extension cords, telephone and speaker wire tape, chewing gum, mesh and fiber and yards and yards of dental floss. Her media is excessive.
She weaves, twists and turns, collages and embroiders refuse into sculptures and wall hangings, mock mosaics and abstract geometric paintings. Each piece is colorful and intelligent, good and eye-catching.
But taken in with each other at her new exhibition at the Littleton Museum, they are less like gems we want to dwell with and more like horrors we would be far better off without the need of.
There is a strange kind of alchemy likely on with all of the objects showcased in “Patterns of Consumption” simply because they rework viewers as well. They pull us in with glee and then wreck us with guilt.
Consider the show’s centerpiece, titled “Year of Plastic, Family members of 4,” which is produced, as that uncomplicated title indicates, from all of the single-use plastic a local family saved — in its place of discarded — from January by December 2019. It is comprehensive of vivid, cheery hues: Chips Ahoy! blue, Reese’s orange, Twizzlers purple, Lay’s yellow, Snickers brown.
Monoyios lays it all out flat, a single piece up coming to the other, into a subject of crinkly plastic stretching 26 ft high and 26 toes huge. It addresses a big wall of the Littleton Museum’s art gallery and spreads out in orderly tentacles on to the ground. At 676 sq. feet, the piece is monumental in scale and entire of excitement.
But it’s also total of dismay, given that you quickly understand everything in this article would conclusion up in a landfill if it was not rescued in the title of art. Does just about every house make that sum of unrecyclable trash? Nicely, indeed that is the position.
Monoyios takes advantage of the similar tactic throughout the exhibition. There is “Gyre,” a foot-tall sculpture, set on a pedestal, that curves close to and folds in on itself. It’s 1 of those 3D art parts that begs you to expend a minor time, determining where by it begins and stops, which side is the front and which is the back. But the joy lightens when you see that it is built from Amazon supply envelopes and Charmin tissue packaging.
There is also “Drops in the Ocean,” which reconfigures potato chip, ice cream and dried fruit bags into a sequence of interlocking circles that come alongside one another into a wall-mounted assemblage measuring 10 ft wide and 5 ft tall.
The impact of her function eventually arrives in the glut of it all. So substantially stuff. So quite. So disgusting, as well.
Monoyios goes as considerably as she can with this, and occasionally farther than she ought to. Her pieces truly are interesting in their way and they are typically also substantially entertaining to gaze at. It is quick to fear that she is too cunning for her individual great — glorifying this junk by turning it into the uncooked material for important products likable issues as a substitute of littler. Would not she make the very same level by just throwing it all into messy piles, letting it be unappealing and stubborn somewhat than the stuff of an art gallery?
But she is on a mission, of training course, to make persons see them selves — or, at the quite the very least, their negative practices. Or, at the incredibly most, the risk that all of us are to our personal planet. Would any person pay awareness if she did not switch it into eye candy? That is a question that lingers above this exhibition — and it is not effortless to solution.
What is effortless is the staring and the ponder, particularly with the exhibition’s extra sensitive parts, the two series of framed wall-hangings she titles “Strings of Things” and “Collections of Factors.” For these objects, Monoyios employs dental floss as thread and embroiders it on to 11-by-14 inch paper into pure geometric shapes. Everything is white-on-white, and the functions come to feel old and new at the identical time — simply because they concurrently refer to the historic craft of sewing and 20th-century abstract painting.
Likewise, there are items like “Landlines,“ which reconfigures discarded telephone and stereo wires, painted white, into tiny circles that are then arranged into one thing resembling a basket — again, there is a timelessness, with the classic kind of weaving linked to the pure geometry of contemporary art.
The items give the demonstrate depth and, established amongst the more substantial and additional colorful objects designed from products packaging, reveal the artist’s variety and eyesight. She is thinking deeply about her uncooked substance and placing in the labor, both of those human body and intellect, to acquire her thoughts thoroughly. The existence of outdated and new traits in the operate also presents viewers extra entry details to the clearly show: Some individuals will be captivated by the similarity to the handicrafts they may well exercise on their own, many others by the garish, about-the-leading installations a lot more frequently identified in museums and significant-stop galleries.
Some people today will just want to head to the closest 7-Eleven for Jelly Bellies and Canada Dry ginger ale.
And in that way, Monoyios — and “Patterns of Consumption” as a total — succeeds with terrific result. It is the form of exhibit you want to see, and you want to deliver your young children and pals to see, since there is minor bit of a thrill for anyone in the room.
And then, certainly, a little terror, too.
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