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Sew a Secret Message into This Artwork—Before It's Too Late

Uncanny miracles happen in David Medalla’s latest exhibition at the Venus Over Manhattan gallery, 'I am an enigma, even to my self.'

by Nathaniel Ainley
Aug 4 2016, 2:10pm

Images Courtesy VENUS / Andy Romer Photography.

If you want to sew a custom made message into one of Filipino participatory art pioneer David Medalla's new works, you better head to NYC's Venus Over Manhattan gallery in Manhattan, and soon. The exhibition, I am an enigma, even to my self, by the same artist who brought you adorable leaning bubble sculptures, is set to close this Friday, and features a variety of Medalla’s paintings, photographs, and sculptures, as well as one of his signature interactive installations. Thought to be the centerpiece of Medalla’s exhibition, the A Stitch in Time installation allows viewers to sew their own messages onto a suspended sheet of white fabric using needles and colored threading provided by the gallery.

Images Courtesy VENUS / Andy Romer Photography.

The piece joins a comprehensive collection of Medalla’s life's work. The gallery writes that the pieces in the collection “explore elements of temporality and chance in order to convey the duality of the outside world versus the internal consciousness of the individual.” A Sitch in Time is the kind of participatory art that viewers slowly develop as time goes on, sort of like when Jack Greer laid a slab of wet cement in the middle of his photography show, or when Camella DaEun Kim made an exhibition out of a giant scratch-off card. This isn't the first time Medalla has done his needlepoint routine, either: the exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan hosts two versions of A Stitch in Time piece, one from an exhibition back in 2013, already filled up with threaded poems and messages, and the new blank sheet to work on.

David Medalla Dreaming of the Mystic Rose, New York City, 1954 — Courtesy VENUS

Big Ben Parliament Square London, 2016 — Courtesy VENUS

In Praise of Scientists and their Ideas, 2015, Oil on canvas, 39 ⅜ x 70 ⅞

Walt Whitman and Arthur Rimbaud, 2015, Oil on canvas, 120 x 110 inches

Another major feature at the show is Medalla’s Sand Machine sculpture, which is basically a branch of wood spinning in circles at the center of a zen-garden type sand pit, dragging along sea shells and tiny stones through the dirt. Watch the sculpture in action below:

David Medalla, Sand Machine, 1963/2015 from Venus Over Manhattan on Vimeo.

For more information about David Medalla's I am an enigma, even to my self, head over to Venus Over Manhattan's website.

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