The sculptural work of Andrea Hasler has always created a dichotomous dynamic – push and pull, revulsion and attraction. The Zurich, Switzerland-born artist (previously featured here) has used her trademark visual medium of sculpted fiber-glass covered with wax to insinuate the human body, with equal parts inference to our insides as well as outsides.
Her newest work is title Embrace the Base, a commission for Greenham Common in Berkshire, England by New Greenham Arts. The site, which held the longest women’s protest against a site storing nuclear weapons in the early 1980’s, is rich with history and emotion. The larger pieces in Hasler’s commission recall the tents that these women protesters erected in their camp outside of the military base which now serves as a cultural meeting place.
“For the New Greenham Arts Exhibition, I have created a new sculptural body of work that takes Greenham Common’s history as a starting point, particularly with the Women’s Peace Camp with its tents situated on the site during this time. This new work also takes into account the historical perspective. as well as entwines with the recreational aspect of how Greenham Common as a site, is being used now, as well as the New Greenham Art gallery being located in the former American Army’s entertainment quarter. Metaphorically I am taking the notion of the tents which were on site during the Women’s Peace Camp, as the container for emotions, and “humanise” these elements to create emotional surfaces.
Hasler mentions that with Embrace the Base she is taking a political element as a starting point and then involving body politics. In Matriarch and Next of Kin, two tent forms, cloaked in skin-like covering, recall the tents that these protesters erected in the Women’s Peace Camp. While one tent is a full-sized replica, the other scaled down, and as the artist hints, most likely represents a mother and child relationship. Often working with skin as a loaded (and typically, simultaneously literal) metaphor, Hasler says, “It’s almost like I am taking the fabric of the tent, the sort of the nylon element of the tent, and I make the fabric, this skin layer as sort of the container for emotion, or sort of the container to hold emotion, as in the skin holding emotion.”
Embrace the Base is on view now at the Corn Exchange Newbury & New Greenham Arts through April 11th, 2014.