Portals from the road

Anila Rubiku, Portals from the road, 2006, cm. 700 x 700 x 400, Cm. h.53 x Ø 33 x  33, Cotton/Silk thread embroidery on linen and silk cloth. 50 round wooden frames, 1 Silk Obi stitched, installation view, © Copyright 2020
23.07.06 – 10.09.06
Echigo-Tsumari, Art Triennial 2006, Japan.

Travel and the experiences travel brings has very often led to great works of art. I suppose literature is the primary vehicle of this genre but figurative artists themselves have recounted the incubating experience that subtly sinks into the traveller when on the road. 

The work presented here created by Anila Rubiku is of her journey to the Far East. Like Marco Polo and so many before her, she has produced a rich and precise accounting of her travels. 

This is a completely new presentation of a project originally realized for the Echigo Tsumari Triennial, Japan in 2006. Working with locals in Tokamachi (Niigata prefecture) she embroidered 50 individual scenes on linen documenting her journey to Japan. This was also an apt method of connecting and adapting her own embroidery to the traditional Japanese textile culture of the region. The individual linen embroideries are mounted on their original hoops or frames that also allude to the portals of a plane or ship while their circular format is like a symbol of the world.

Her work is frequently autobiographic and relates to the more philosophical aspects of mind-journeys: A desire to be elsewhere, the anticipation of adventure and all the expectations, hopes, and building excitement of far away places and people. 

Recurrent imagery is the iconography of the everyday: depictions of cozy domestic interiors with stylish designer furniture combined with scenes of a sensual nature. 

As in much of her work, there is an ongoing dialogue between inside and outside with an investigation of the relationship between the body, architecture and home. 

Rubiku’s work explores the wider notion embodied in travel of the interplay between anticipation and the actual reality. Our experience of the trip is dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to and our awareness of why we are on the move. Her delicately sewn figurative drawings and poetic texts reveal her natural curiosity in recording specific details and experiences on the road. 

Rubiku’s work is replete with desire…the desire to explore, to discover and to realise dreams. The poet was correct: “we are such stuff as dreams are made on”. Her acute observation and artistic expression of the all-powerful motivation of desire illustrates the power of art to open our eyes and change the way we perceive places allowing us to ‘imagine the possibilities’.