You could call “Ugly Knitting” many things: an exhibition, an installation, a performance, a hilarious racket. It’s hard to know exactly which is correct, but it’s also hard to feel like that matters. “Ugly Knitting” is a concert of sorts, performed by Japanese artist Ujino Muneteru and his band The Rotators. This band is talented and synchronized, their music a clacking beat that ignites rhythm into viewers upon its immediate absorption. This band is also composed entirely of recycled household appliances. Yes, not a single living thing has been used to create these ‘band members’, but they are louder and livelier than your crying baby. The Rotators are three separate constructions, all operated through a master controller encased within a seventies-era wooden dresser. Each is an extravagant mash up of kitchen ware, furniture, and electronics, all flashing and moving and clanging on cue. On one side of the room a tumbled and splintering piano is spastically humped by an electrified broom brush suspended from the ceiling by extension chords. On the other side a food processor whirrs while floor lamps click on and off as a skewered ”London A-Z” swivels on the end of an electric drill bit.
The brilliance of “Ugly Knitting” is that it seems chaotic, when really the attention to detail is astonishing. Ujino recognizes the unique timbre of each object; the high squeal of a blender and the flat echo of an empty night table are utilized to create a music which feels familiar and yet completely unheard of. His ingenuity is also evident in his attention not only to the sound but the movement of each piece. An old Jane Fonda work-out record rests atop a three-tiered purple chrome table, which at one point bursts vigorously to life and wiggles its midsection in time with the beat. It’s absurd to perfection. Ujino through his inventiveness breathed life into these Frankensteinian assemblages Bring a friend to see this with you, unless you’re comfortable being caught laughing and dancing alone in public.
Ujino and the Rotators, “Ugly Knitting” is showing at the Hayward Project Space at the Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Showing 18th February through 26th April. Open daily 10am-6pm, Late night Fridays until 10pm.
-- Charlotte Simmonds
Images Courtesy Ujino Muneteru