In the centre of Norwich stands the The Forum, constructed like a glittering glass shell and a tribute to modernist perfection. For one week this January it housed the Tales of the Unfinishable: a ragbag tent erected as a monument to failure.
The conclusion of two years work by artists Felicity Clarke and Hazel Connors this installation displays over 200 unfinished textile projects, with most of them stitched onto the exterior of the ‘pavilion’ in a monstrous, and garish, patchwork of guilt.
The interior is calm in comparison and hung with sheer white fabrics on which is printed the many narratives behind the ‘ unfinishable’ projects. The stories explaining these objects perpetual state of incompletion expose a host of emotions many of which are linked to guilt, a sense of failure or simply an attachment that cannot be severed. They reveal just how much is invested in the conception, and ultimate failure, of a handmade object.
Perhaps these aborted projects, which started life so optimistically and full of potential signify more than just an unfinished craft project. Do they eventually become a mirror of our biggest fears, the fear of our own unfulfilled lives, of failure, and untapped potential?
Clarke and Connor’s installation satisfies an instinct for mending, making, piecing and patching – to take the broken and incomplete and piece it together, even if the result is unsightly and awkward
I like this rogues gallery of frayed misfits, this travelling carnival of textiles stopped on route to a landfill site. I like how this detritus of the handicrafts industry, pinned out for all to see, is a reminder of all our unfinished business and everything we stash away and try not to think about.
I like this festival of failure, it is a celebration of what it means to be human, and a tribute to the courage it takes to admit defeat.
Find out more about this project, and where you can see it by visiting: www.theunfinishable.com/