In 2016 ATW weavers worked with British artist Keith Tyson on what proved to be a very challenging commission. Tyson visited the ATW in early 2014 to meet the weavers and get an understanding of the process of tapestry weaving. The weavers worked on a range of samples using some experimental weaving techniques to show the artist an indication of the different ways his initial design ideas could be realised in tapestry. The information that Tyson gathered on this first visit was instrumental in the final design he created.
Keith Tyson wrote after this visit:
“Seeing the fantastic work that is being, and has been done there, was both inspiring and incredibly humbling. The labour and intricate craftsmanship is just awesome, the results vibrant and arresting. After speaking with the weavers I think there is a real opportunity to do something striking and novel with the medium. I do not see this as simply a diffusion of my painting but a new way of making an object in its won right. The weaving together of the various strands, the strata of compressed time forming slowly into an image, all form a prefect conceptual fit with theme I have always been fascinated with.”– Keith Tyson, 2014
Keith Tyson (b.1969) is a British artist whose work is concerned with an interest in generative systems, and an embrace of the complexity and interconnectedness of existence. Tyson works in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing and installation. Incorporating systems of logic, scientific methodology and chance into his artistic oeuvre, Keith Tyson captivates audiences with his quest for comprehension, while evaluating the limits and infinites of his environment.
Tyson has received numerous awards and became the 18th recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2002. Solo exhibitions include the exhibition of the major sculptural work Large Field Array; a multi-faceted sculptural installation which toured from the Louisiana Museum for Modern Art, Denmark, to the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Holland, 2006-07, and to Pace Wildenstein in New York until 2008. More recent exhibitions have been at David Risley Gallery in and Copenhagen and Pace Gallery in London. Tyson’s work in held in a number of collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Modern, London and the Muse National d’art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Keith Tyson is represented by Galerie Vallois, Paris and Pace Gallery, New York.
The Gordian Knot is a legend of Phrygian Gordium associated with Alexander the Great. It is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem (disentangling an \"impossible\" knot) solved easily by cheating or \"thinking outside the box\" (\"cutting the Gordian knot\"). In this design a central knot of fibres come together to form a modern day Gordian Knot, biological, technological, cosmological, mythological and sociological evolutions all being woven together as a reflection of the world.
The tapestry is circular. A bottom edge was woven in to support the warp and removed when the circle was completed. In certain areas of the tapestry different weaving techniques including sumac and double warp create a three dimensional quality. The background colour is designed to recede into the display wall so the complex and colourful knot stands out. This work was an exciting and challenging project for our weavers due to the complexities of the design and the circular shape of the work.