From My Head to My Toes, to My Teeth to My Nose
Johanna Unzueta’s works address notions of labor, productivity, and progress. Made using natural materials such as felt and wood, manipulated and combined with recycled objects from old factories, her labor-intensive, handmade constructions emulate industrial architecture, tools, and machinery. Thinking of tools as extensions of the body, Unzueta rereads the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution. She calls our attention to common objects that serve practical purposes, but that we take for granted and rarely notice.
The hinges and the chain in the exhibition From My Head to My Toes, to My Teeth to My Nose are made of 100 percent natural felt and arranged in configurations that invoke the body. A hinge “hugs” a corner of a wall; a chain made using Unzueta’s whole body as a pattern becomes a stand-in for the artist herself.
The exhibition also speaks to Michigan’s agricultural history by including from the MSU Museum collection a three-legged cherry picking ladder—a tool whose form improves upon the human one to make harvesting fruit easier and more productive. Unzueta aims to humanize such objects, and urges viewers to think about their own relationship to the history of technology and the objects that facilitate everyday life.
Field Station: Johanna Unzueta is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Associate Curator. Support for this exhibition is provided by the MSU Federal Credit Union.