Whitechapel Gallery, London

Last week the Whitechapel Gallery invited visitors to share photographs of their winter outfits using the hashtag #TuttleTextiles. This publicity idea seemed to say more about the experience of the exhibition’s invigilators, watching layered-up members of the public negotiate their way around Tuttle’s delicately constructed sculptures, than about visitors’ own intentions when they decided what they would wear that day. The colour-set of Tuttle’s work has a lot in common with such seasonal attire, drawing from a range of everyday found materials including wood, wire and various types of painted or stained fabric. Primary yellows and reds of mass-produced objects and functional wood/metal tones do indeed combine to create a sympathetic, even domestic environment for the Whitechapel Gallery’s wintry visitors.

Another form of framing occurs through the poetic texts which accompany each piece. The exhibition’s press release states how a fascination with the common roots of ‘text’ and ‘textile’ inspired these printed boards. In practice, an interesting form of collage seems to occur, as the viewer decides how to view each work: through the lens of the text, simply looking at the work itself, or various combinations of the two. Each viewer’s own physical positions as they gravitate between the work and the text, and the relative intensities through which these are each taken in, become part of their own collaged impression of the exhibition. The physicality of the works’ delicate constructions, and their necessary physical relationship to the viewer who negotiates the spaces between them, leads to the exhibition’s experience becoming like textile itself: woven, textured and intimately layered.