01 October 2014

Stitched Up - exhibition

"An exhibition surveying artistic approaches ato textile mediums, application and appropriations in Post-War and Contemporary Art during the last three decades, starting with pioneers Rosemarie Trockel and Alighiero Boetti, then leading through some of today's best and most promising artists, Sergej Jensen and Sterling Ruby [not shown], up to emerging talents Ethan Cook, Sam Moyer, Ayan Farah, Nina Beier and Alek O. This exhibition creates a lineage and overview as to how different artists have and are employing textiles in their artistic practice and to what end."

That's what it says in the catalogue. The exhibition was at Sotheby's S/2 gallery, 3-30 September, and you can see all 15 works online. These are my photographs of my favourites.
Ayan Farah, Lahleh (2014), 180x120cm.
Indian ink, black clay, sea salt and dead sea mud on hemp.

Hard to see the subtlety of this piece, Untitled (2013) by Ethan Cook, 230 x 305cm.
Hand woven cotton on canvas, in artist's frame.
(You couldn't make a quilt this simple and "pure" - or could you?)

Another Ethan Cook, again Untitled (2013), 128 x 103cm.
Hand woven cotton on canvas, in artist's frame.
(It consists of nine pieces of fabric, machine sewn and stretched.)

Piece number 16, ex-catalogue, is by Nina Beier, title and dimensions not available.
She puts swathes of cloth - found ("appropriated") garments - into a frame, or as
the catalogue says, "a portrait oriented vitrine".
The garments are animal prints - the work "engages in the problems of representation and the economics of creation.
While quickly adding links to the artists, I saw enough to make we want to go an look at more of their work.

Looking for reviews of the exhibition, of which there were few if any, I thought this was a bit of an overblown claim:
"The ancient techniques of weaving, stitching and the spinning of fibres are among some of the
earliest forms of human creative expression, “Stitched Up” looks at how and why these processes
are being adopted by artists today."

The exhibition did make me think that in fine art, fabric can be a medium like paint - the artist uses it less for its properties and history than simply as a medium, paring back to essentials (or presenting it in some jarring way). In textile art, on the other hand, the fabric/fibre is central and what is done to or with it can usually be classified as accumulation, repetition, and variation - and often all of these at once."Art textiles" might be category between these two, if it could be defined more clearly. Hmm, I'm still thinking about this...


Anonymous said...

"Overblown" to be sure. But in art competitions, textile techniques are often only "referenced." At least Cook used handwoven cloth, but I wonder if it from his own loom.

Stitchinscience said...

Thanks for posting about this exhibition Margaret. I had hoped to see this on Tuesday, but didn't get there. I'm very puzzled by the whole "art textile" definition, and seem to be getting more confused, rather than less, with the more art that I see. Lots to learn I suppose.

silkpjs said...

...then there are all those innovative artists and weavers who made their own textiles…Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Olga Amaral, Magdalena Abakanowitz, Katherine Westphal, Ed Rossbach, just for starters, and those brutal gray felt suits by Josef Bueys…my antique memory is withholding their names, but there were so many artists during the fifties and sixties who challenged the boundaries between art and substance. And Anatsui is certainly a textile artist, even though there's not a single bit of fiber in his works.. So just go with Artist, and when they ask what you do, then tell them in a way that never uses the word "quilt".