Medicine Bundles for the unborn child (1994) is different from Hall’s other works as it represents how western civilisation (including children) now depend on these types of products to function Medicine Bundles for the unborn child is made by using trash materials such as empty coke bottles. Hall knitted a baby’s matinee jacket, bonnet and bootees from shredded Coca-Cola cans, attended by a six-pack of Coke cans with rubber nipples, it was finished in 1994. From the 1990’s, Hall turned her attention to making sense of modern life this meant using more contemporary materials.
Hall uses trash aesthetics to convey meaning; she has taken the familiar practice of knitting and changed it into something surprising and hazardous by using such an inappropriate material. The aluminium contrasts severely with the traditional Material of wool. Medicine Bundles for the unborn child is one of Halls less detailed works but still conforms to the rest of her artwork by having an identifiable meaning behind it.
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Fiona halls leaf litter consists of 186 sheets each sheet consists of a life sized portrait of a leaf meticulously painted in Quash over the bank notes of the leaves country of origin.
The work is incredibly fragile but is made to move. The paintings are hung so they sway against the wall. The gauche is worked quite thickly in some areas and quite thinly in others. This why the faces on the back notes can be seen through the leaf. Quash is quite flaky, crumbly and dry this gives the painting a more realistic quality taking on the characteristics of a dry leaf. Leaf Litter was produced by Hall largely in Lunaganga, Sri Lanka where she stayed, with the aid of an Asialink residency. Leaf litter clearly represents halls desire to save the environment. The bank notes represent the dependence on plants by human society.
Leaf litter aligns the distribution of plant species with the distribution of financial wealth. “Cell Culture” was created in 2002 is a collection of animals and plants constructed out of clear glass bead and regular Tupperware containers. This artwork is a member to a collection of 30 other objects. Halls has worked with a rage of materials to complete her work. In Cell culture has used a white plastic container and has beaded components that have been sewed together and shaped to a particular form. All of these works are all housed within a large museological display case.
Again, Hall has combined many different themes for her works Cell culture represents systems of trade, socialisation and exchange by subjecting them to the neutralising force of science. Cell Culture was produced for the 2002 Adelaide Bienniale and has recently been purchased by the Art Gallery of South Australia. Cell structure is set out like a collection of specimens that are orderly classification and observed and displayed. The wondrous complexity of biological diversity is frozen like a display of precious diamonds rendered curiously sterile in a structured context.
It is also similar to a presentation of preserved creatures all divided from each other in a similar setting. Hall has chosen to use these materials to convey her ideas. During colonisation, beads were used as a main form of trade and held the economy as the form of currency and would be used to barter for land, food and clothing. The Tupperware containers are used to symbolise socialisation, as a Tupperware party is a social event. Both materials symbolise the economy, as both products are so cheap in today’s world. This artwork uses great juxtaposition e. g. Tupperware containers and beads.
This artwork is also about the fine lines of today’s nature and society. The reason for the two opposing materials (glass beads and Tupperware) is to emphasise the point that it is impossible to think about nature as being separate from human values. The artwork questions the role of natural science and the way societies have viewed the natural world. Cell culture detail Fiona Hall’s artworks cover many themes and motifs, though the core theme throughout Hall’s work is the relationship between nature and culture. Leaf litter and Medicine bundles for the unborn child both clearly represent the environment and the affect we have on it.
Hall’s choice of material, and the way she uses it, is critical to her art. It speaks to us because it engages with contemporary life in intriguing ways. Hall deliberately transforms ordinary everyday objects to address a range of contemporary issues such as globalisation, consumerism, colonialism and natural history. She has used this method with Medicine Bundles for the unborn child by using something as common as coke can and knitting them in to children’s clothes. Throughout her career Hall has also maintained a lifelong commitment to teaching and study as a means of furthering her art.
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