Grandmother Waits For You (3 stars)

  • The List
  • 14 August 2009

This article is from 2009.

Grandmother Waits For You

Oddly beautiful structure explores ageism, community and unconditional love

Centred on an undeniably impressive central knitted construct that stretches from the ground floor balustrade all the way to the ceiling of this curious backstage venue Grandmother Waits For You is cheeky conceptualism for The Matrix generation.

Wool thread links Teletubby dolls, children’s jumpers, small cuddly toys and anything else that a grandmother would make or gift to her children’s children. This odd and beautiful structure is the result of a mass collaboration involving knitting groups, residents from sheltered accommodation and a ragbag of local artists (special thanks goes to the Sunblush group from Preston who knitted over 140 ‘hubs’).

Using language that could have been lifted straight from Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts, the supporting literature describes the sculpture as a work of ‘relational engineering’ and containing ‘thriving nodal “hot clusters” and random ends symbolising exclusionary “dread zones.”’ All of which is quite amusing but the supporting material disappoints. Made up of over one hundred global submissions, this tatty selection of photographs, photocopied A4 sheets and assorted odds and ends is a poor adjunct to the ideas of ageism, community and unconditional love that the central work engenders. A brave if foolhardy step into the noosphere.

Embassy Gallery, 0795 087 2479, until Sat 5 Sep 2009, Thu–Sun noon-6pm or by appointment, free.

Embassy Gallery - Grandmother Waits for You

  • 3 stars

This exhibition takes a sympathetic and humorous look at British grannyhood as a specific cultural phenomenon defined by its own autopoietic sub-system. It focuses on the ‘knitting club’ both as a cross-generational creative platform and as a nodal point in an analogue network of localised information exchange.


1. Jason Donovan17 Aug 2009, 8:35pm5 stars Grandmother Waits For You

I saw this and lost my knob.

I disagree with the reviewer in many ways. I myself contributed one of the 'global submissions' and consider myself to have stepped bravely (if foolhardily) into the mechanistic cult of noocracy. As a member of the 'aristocracy of the wise' I appreciate the Embassy's endeavour to embrace 'complexity'.

Having said this, my multicoloured eye sniffs out crass stupidity. In my world the grand matriarch is the sheep. Not only as the provider of 'that which binds' but also, through years of cultivated mutation, she who provides eternal life through the winsome, wobbly and wayfaring teats.

As a lover of the afore mentioned beast, in its most bloated and modified form, I am not criticising the over use of synthetic yarn (though this I perceived to be true). Rather I question the flatulent conceit that places god-hood upon the aged. To each conduit does an eager lamb suck knowledge and thrust images through its tiny trotters.

I have traversed many stages yet Gnosis still eludes me. The 'dread zones' are real. Believe me. My goddess has fallen and risen many times but she still wears my jumper in bed.

I saw this show and I felt her closeness.

Thankyou Embassy,


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2. Angie McClanahan18 Aug 2009, 4:11am Report

This review seems to miss the point of the appearance of the exhibition- it plays with assumptions about what we 'think' we see. It appears as a 'community' art project to critique the very idea of that kind of display, what we think 'community' is in the 21st century, the power relations embedded in contemporary art culture and display more generally, and so on.

The reviewer needs to look more closely at the various layers of meaning on which the exhibition operate.

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