The Contemporary Art Society has supported a recent acquisition by Polish born, London based multidisciplinary artist Goshka Macuga, for Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Goshka Macuga works in a wide variety of media, including sculpture, drawing, painting, film, photography and textiles. These elements are often incorporated into large installations that may include archival material, museum artefacts and work by other artists.
Both artist and activist, spectator and commentator, Macuga’s works often contain bold political statements. Make Tofu Not War is one such work, a large-scale 3D tapestry that is dynamic, humorous, environmental and politically charged. Make Tofu Not War is centred around a dystopian landscape with three people dressed as animals: a polar bear, wolf and reindeer. They are surrounded by discarded signs and placards that appear to be the remnants of an environmental and political protest. The animals appear standoffish, their postures convey a sense of frustration and displeasure at their surroundings and place within their world.
The tapestry is rich in layered narratives, associations and references, from environmental catastrophe to debates on personhood. Influences can be drawn from works such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm to the not-so-distant past portrayal of hunting, to futuristic Sci-Fi indicated by the spaceship in the background. Inspired by the ability of historical events to develop varied narratives, Macuga deconstructs these in her work to reveal how events can be altered, exploring the relationship between propaganda and art. When viewed with 3D glasses, the viewer can immerse themselves in the tapestry, reflecting upon their own interactions with nature and the impact that exploiting the natural world has had both in the past and in the present.
For Nottingham Castle Museum, Goshka Macuga’s Make Tofu Not War will enrich a growing body of work in various media by contemporary women artists and add to the extensive collection of tapestries and paintings. The museum also has a strong collecting theme in works relating to protest, democracy and power, all of which are present in Make Tofu Not War.
Goshka Macuga (b.1967, Warsaw, Poland) lives and works in London. Recent Solo shows include The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2019), Kate MacGarry, London (2019) and Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany (2019). Recent group shows include Bauhaus Association, Weimar, Germany (2019), Freud Museum, London (2019) and The Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2018).
Presented with support from the Art Fund, Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Contemporary Art Society, 2019/20