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Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:3:14

Video transcript

(jazzy music) Voiceover: We're at SFMOMA and we're looking at a Jacki Winsor sculpture. This is called "#1 Rope" and it dates to 1976. It's made out of square wood rods. Voiceover: There are 7 in each row. Voiceover: So 7 by 7. Voiceover: Seven squared. Voiceover: They're vertical and they're holding 3 balls of hemp, which are roughly wound into tight spheres. Voiceover: I found myself wondering, while we looked at this, what was holding it together. Each stick seems very separate, and yet clearly they are linked in some way; also by horizontal bars that we can't see. Voiceover: Or you can barely see. I think, in fact, perhaps you're not even supposed to see. Voiceover: So it has a kind of mysteriousness to its being able to stand up. Voiceover: At the same time, they almost seem to have a kind of gravity that holds them together. Voiceover: So interesting that she's using these found materials and transforming them. I found myself immediately imagining the gesture of the winding. I knit so I often make skeins of yarn and it takes a really long time to wind this much. Voiceover: There's real labor involved here. Voiceover: It feels that way, yeah. Also the movement of the hand to make the skeins. Voiceover: One wonders what purpose these skeins, in a sense, hold, because there almost feels like there's an industrial purpose, as if they are going to go onto a loom of some sort. It's so interesting because we're thinking about the mechanized, and there is something mechanized here. Voiceover: In the grid. Voiceover: But on the other hand, there's something that's so tactile and handmade. Voiceover: And it's looking back at a kind of tradition of women's work, perhaps. We also notice the rough texture and the way the hemp is coming apart a little bit compared with the pieces of wood that seem so solid. Voiceover: Then, of course, there's a square hole in the center. Voiceover: There is, and it takes a minute to notice it. Voiceover: There's darkness there and it draws our eye in. Then you want to rise up on your toes and look in a little bit. This is something a little mysterious in how is that shaped, and does the square go all the way down, and does it expand out in that middle layer perhaps? There's something unknown and kind on unknowable about this. Voiceover: I think there's a real sense of time because of that element that we were talking about ... Voiceover: Of the winding, yeah. Voiceover: Yeah, so that it's a work that embodies a long duration and work and repetitive work. Voiceover: But they come together in this kind of extraordinary sense of unity. Together, the 7 by 3, this unit, they feel so solid and so interdependent. Voiceover: But each one is different, right? Voiceover: They are totally different, yeah. Voiceover: The windings are completely different. each one is different. Coloration is different. The winding is different. Voiceover: It's almost like thatch. It's this beautiful organic material and, of course, it's gotten dirty over time. It's not precious at all, and yet it feels solid and strong. Voiceover: The making of it feels like it involved a lot of energy. Voiceover: And if one were to ever try to unmake this it would take an extraordinarily long period of time. Voiceover: Exactly. (jazzy music)