Materials:Acrylic, Lurex, Cotton , Wool
Dimensions:293 x 447 cm
Credit:Presented with support from the Art Fund, Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Contemporary Art Society, 2019/20
Ownership history:Purchased from the Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York by the Contemporary Art Society, with support from the Art Fund, Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, 2020; presented to Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, 2020
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, a wolf and a 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 associations and references, with layered narratives from environmental change to debates on personhood. Influences can be drawn from works such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, to the glorified and not-so-distant past portrayal of hunting, to the futuristic Sci-Fi scene indicated by the spaceship in the background. Inspired by the ability of historical events to become varied narratives, Macuga deconstructs these same narratives 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 work, reflecting upon their own interactions with nature and the impact that exploiting nature’s resources has and continues to have.
For Nottingham Castle Museum, Goshka Macuga’s Make Tofu Not War will enrich the growing body of work in various media by contemporary women artists and add to the extensive tapestries and collection of paintings. Nottingham Castle Museum has been delving into the archive to unearth and explore histories in references to protest, democracy and power that are present in Make Tofu Not War, which also make this acquisition fitting for the institution.
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