Nina Katchadourian, "Mended Spider Web #14 (Spoon Patch)", 1998, edition #2/5, C-print, 30x20”,   Courtesy Debs & Co., NYC

Nina Katchadourian, “Mended Spider Web #14 (Spoon Patch)”, 1998, edition #2/5, C-print, 30×20”, Courtesy Debs & Co., NYC

Nina Katchadourian

The Mended Spider Web series came about during a six-week period in June and July of 1998, which I spent, on Pörtö, a Finnish island in the Baltic Sea. In the forest and around the house where I was living I searched for broken spider webs which I repaired using red sewing thread. All of the patches were made by inserting thread segments directly into the web, one at a time.

Sometimes the thread was starched, making it stiffer and easier to work with. The short threads were held in place by the stickiness of the spider web itself; dipping the tips into white glue reinforced longer threads. I fixed the holes until it could no longer bear the weight of the thread. In the process, I often caused further damage when the tweezers got tangled in the web or when my hands brushed up against it by accident.

The morning after my first patch job, I discovered a pile of red threads lying on the ground below the web. At first I assumed the wind had blown them out; on closer inspection, it became clear that the spider had repaired the web to perfect condition using its own methods, throwing out the threads in the process. My repairs were always rejected by the spider and discarded, usually at night, even in webs that looked abandoned. The rejected patches are shown next to the photograph presenting the web with the patches as it looked on site.

Nina Katchadourian, born in Stanford, CA, currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University, an MFA from the University of California at San Diego, and participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study program. She has shown her work in solo shows at Debs & Co. in NYC (where her work is represented), Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, ArtPace in San Antonio, the San Diego Museum of Natural History, group shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland, the Sara Meltzer Gallery in NYC, MOMA PS 1 in NYC, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, and has exhibited abroad in Germany, Croatia, Finland, Sweden, and London. Reviews of her work have appeared in noted publications including Time Out New York, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New Yorker, ArtForum, Time Out London, and the New York Times. Nina has been a resident artist at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and the Caribbean Contemporary Art Center in Trinidad. She is the recipient of a Tiffany Foundation for The Arts Award, an American Scandinavian Foundation Grant, Art Matters Grant, and the Hugh Townley Award of Excellence.