In 2014 VENUS showcased Cloud Canyons, an eight-foot-tall bubble machine considered to be Medalla’s most iconic work (currently on view at the TATE Modern). The second exhibition, titled I am an enigma, even to my self, will feature paintings, photographs, sculpture, ephemera, and an interactive installation, providing an overview of Medalla’s artistic practice. For the exhibition, Medalla recounts:
In the late ‘60s, I met two ex-lovers at London’s Heathrow airport and gave them each a handkerchief, along with a packet of needles and several spools of cotton thread. I instructed them to stitch anything they wanted on the handkerchiefs—poems, names, messages, drawings, etc. Years later, I met a backpacker at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam carrying a totem-like pole of pieces of multicolored cloths stitched together with various objects including old Chinese coins, keys, empty cigarette packets, dried leaves, barks and roots of tropical trees attached. The backpacker revealed that someone had given it to him in Bali. Upon taking a closer look, I was amazed to find that the bottom piece of cloth was one of the original handkerchiefs I had given away.
This event marked the beginning of A Stitch in Time, a pioneering work of participatory art in which needles and spools of colored thread are made available to visitors to stitch messages onto a suspended length of fabric. VENUS’ exhibition will feature two iterations of the piece—an extant version from 2013 and a new version to be created over the course of the show. The exhibition will also include photographs of Medalla holding a previous rendition of A Stitch in Time in front of various monuments around London relating to the artist’s unique interpretation of time and space. Together, the photographs and installations explore elements of temporality and chance in order to convey the duality of the outside world versus the internal consciousness of the individual.