Soft Measures: Strait

Kapwani Kiwanga
Soft Measures: Strait, 2018
Carved granite and cotton
Work: 421 x 143 x 10 cm

The continent of Europe is moving towards Africa at the rate of approximately 2cm per year – eventually it will slide underneath entirely. The installation Soft Measures consists of 3 sculptural, textile works through which Kiwanga considers the authority of measuring conventions while evoking deep geological time. In the central piece, each of the two white curtains are printed with their own unique pattern of black lines spaced respectively 0.95cm and 2.15 cm apart. This regular spacing between the lines evokes a measuring instrument and corresponds to each of the velocities at which the two continents are moving toward one another. Hung on serpentining rails, these soft sculptures suggest the coming together of the two tectonic planes until they collide. This central space is punctuated by wall-based works (Zanclean & Strait), which utilize engraved Mediterranean granite and striped fabric, which is partially dyed on occasion. Kiwanga has crafted a narrative of speculative fiction; Strata: towards a rock opera (or the law of superposition), organised in three acts, and diffused as a radio play within the space created between the curving curtains.