current situation 2018
discarded cords and cables, copper, wool, galvanised steel
detail photograph courtesy of the artist.
Karen Rubado uses refuse to create weavings of great sensuality. She teases out latent material richness, discovering the gold inherent in the straw. Here she uses cords and cables, items so commonplace that they are easily overlooked, so deeply useful that any material loveliness is quite invisible. Disassembling them, Rubado undoes the mode of their making, answering quick machine mass-production with painstaking handiwork. The elements are then woven together with equal care and attention, converted into something other. Passages of dirt and wear remain, however: vestiges of the materials’ former lives that summon attention to the before, as well as the transcendent after.
Rubado has commented that her work is not primarily directed towards advertising the problem of the proliferation of waste (can any of us still claim to be ignorant of same?), nor the potential for us to recycle so much that is currently discarded. Indeed, current situationis not a strong example of recycling in the sense that it does not produce a ‘useful’ object; the hanging does not afford insulation, as one made of different materials might. Rubado is largely uninterested in utility, concentrating instead on the question of mutability, the revelation of the beauties and histories hidden in household objects, and the fabrication of intricate entities we ache to pepper with our fingerprints.