Cotton Research Chapter II (Manchester)

Marking the end of Ya-chu Kang’s three month residency here at CFCCA, she hosts an open studio to show what she has been working on during her time in Manchester. Kang, joins us from Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan. Her work explores issues of identity and the relationships that humans have with natural and social environments. Her research inspires a prolific and beautiful responses in the form of site-specific installation, mix-media sculpture, land art, photography and more.

The concept for the Cotton Research Project is not just about the material cotton, it is about the links between: The past and the present, agriculture and industry, life, death, trade and migration.
Textiles here are presented as a world language. They evoke questions deep-seated questions about our economic systems and our relationship with our natural environment. This project relates to the development of the global textile industry and how modern consumer culture today is affecting traditional culture.

This studio exhibition shows Chapter II of Kang’s research in Cotton in Manchester. The first Chapter was researched in Taipei and exhibited as part of Manchester Science Festival.

The open studio is indicative of Kang’s working process. During her three-month residency she has been compulsively collecting every day materials and realizing them into drawing, sculpture and installation work.

Her work is moving with the times and referencing the city’s transition from an industrial past to a post-industrial future. Textiles and threads here are not stitched to create the borders; they are woven to eliminate boundaries, to create connection and encourage dialogue.

Key words: cotton, spinning, border, system, migration, trade, lost, sustainability, modernization

Artist Statement:

“The humid weather in Manchester was a predominant factor in the cities past transformation from a normal English town to an industrial powerhouse and initiated the industrial revolution. Rain is an iconic part of Mancunian life and although it could be seen as melancholic it has allowed for the effective spinning of cotton.

In this work spinning is not just a technical action. It is a metaphor for turning around and around. How could we keep the balance without creating too much tension?

I’m not only interested in the process and history of cotton mills per se, I see this project as a vehicle for ‘spinning the yarn’ to extend the imagination and awareness about the life we are living in.”

Ya-chu Kang has exhibited internationally since 2006, in Japan, Europe, North America and South Asia, and has researched textile culture in Japan, Peru, Thailand, and India. Her publications include Textile Map, Volumes 1 and 2. She also engages in fabric art education. Before commencing her residency here at CFCCA, she took part in a residency project in Guimaraes that is part of the Contextile 2018- Textile of Contemporary Art Biennial in Portugal.

Her work was exhibited as part of Manchester Science Festival and she gave live performances as part of this at Museum of Science and Industry and also Southbank Centre’s Changing China Festival both in October 2018