Caption (Left Image):
Quatre Générations de Femmes (Four Generations
of Women), 1997, Zineb Sedira, computer-generated designs
silk-screened on ceramic tiles, Courtesy of the artist and the
Agency Contemporary, London
Caption (Right Image): Bojagi (wrapping cloth),
early 20th century , Ramie, Toplitz Hilborn Memorial Fund, PEM
In Quatre Générations de Femmes (Four Generations
of Women) by Zineb Sedira and in Bojagi
by an unidentified Korean artist, both artists have created art
from separate units. Each artist has altered one or more art elements
of shape, value, or color
and has still achieved a composition that is unified
For the designs on her two square tiles (only one of which is
illustrated), Sedira chose two of the three complementary
color pairs; red/green and blue/orange. The tiles cover four
interior walls of the room-sized gallery installation. The combination
of the clear colors, intertwining symmetrical linear design and
the sheer number of tiles obscures the edges of each individual
unit, allowing the viewer to experience the entire wall and the
room as a vibrating whole. This unified and balanced visual impact
draws the viewer into the room and encourages closer examination
of the tiles’ details, inviting the discovery of the women’s
faces and calligraphy in the three languages Sedira must use to
converse with her family.
The Korean artist who created the Bojagi chose
to use a limited number of colors, creating interest
by contrasting the color values and altering
the shape of the fabric pieces. The subtle differences in color
and value emphasize the individual quadrilateral units, leading
to an appreciation of their edges and the way they work as a unified
and balanced arrangement. In contrast to Sedira’s installation,
this work is serene.
Sedira was born in Paris to Algerian parents. She is
a graduate of St. Martins, the Slade, and the Royal College of
Art in London and currently is based there. Her work has been
exhibited widely across Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. Sedira
makes it clear that the range of her personal geography is central
to her artistic output. Her work explores the unique point of
view that results from having a European education while being
raised in a displaced North African Muslim community.
Related Web Links:1
(Pojagi), or wrapping cloths, are Korean textiles pieced
together from small scraps of cloth. Bojagi have very old origins,
but those still in existence date from the Choso÷n dynasty (1392
– 1910). They are used for wrapping, carrying and storing
objects, and as table coverings, altar cloths and special-occasion
decorations. Bojagi are usually square and come in a range of
sizes. Fabrics used in bojagi include silk, cotton, hemp and ramie.
Ramie is a fiber made from the stalks of a woody shrub indigenous
and unique to Korea. It can be woven into a very thin, even-textured
and strong fabric that is extraordinarily long-lasting. There
are many different types of bojagi including lined or unlined,
embroidered, painted and gold-leafed.
Often beautifully designed using quadrilateral scraps of fabric,
bojagi were all produced by women. The sophisticated aesthetic
the wrapping cloths demonstrate, regardless of their age, is strikingly
contemporary. As the only sanctioned creative outlet for Korean
women, the refined bojagi are the only clues we have about individual
artists’ feelings of harmony and beauty.
Rapt in Color Korean Textiles and Costumes of the Choso÷n
Dynasty edited by Claire Roberts and Huh Dong-hwa
Hanbok – The Art of Korean Clothing by Sunny Yang
Art Elements and Principles
Six art elements can be thought of as the building blocks artists
use in forming an art work. Seven art principles that organize
the “blocks” can be thought of as the construction
Elements - The building blocks
1. LINE A mark/stoke
longer than it is wide: straight/curved, horizontal, vertical,
diagonal, and thick/thin.
2. COLOR What we
see when light is reflected or absorbed by surfaces: saturated/diluted
3. VALUE (Luminance)
Degree of lightness or darkness of colors: tint(light)/shade(dark)
4. TEXTURE Appearance
of surfaces both represented (2D) or physical (3D): smooth/rough,
glossy/flat, undulating/jagged, and transparent/opaque.
5. SHAPE (2D) FORM
(3D) Area defined by lines, colors, values and textures: geometric/organic,
soft/hard and sharp/smooth.
6. SPACE Distance
or area between lines or shapes: deep/shallow, crowded/empty,
Principles - The construction method
1. UNITY Each element
in art work is necessary, none can be left out with out changing
the work significantly.
2. BALANCE Even
distribution/arrangement of elements in an art work.
3. DOMINANCE One
element is given more importance than other elements in an art
Use of an element(s) more than once in more than one way in an
5. RYTHYM Arrangement
in an art work of element(s) in an ordered sequence to create/suggest
6. CONTRAST Use
of opposite elements (see parings above) in close proximity.
Incremental changes in any element(s), especially a dominant element
in an art work.
color A complementary color reflects the wavelengths
of its opposite color, which is either a primary color (red, blue,
yellow) or the color resulting from mixing two primary colors
together (green, orange, violet). The pairs are red/green, blue/orange,
and yellow/violet. When a pair of complementary colors of equal
value are near each other, each color appears to be brighter or
stronger because of the way our eyes process the wave lengths
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing by Margaret Livingstone.
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.
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