Textiles are at the heart of the new ifa touring exhibition, which focuses on questions including: What inherent meanings and messages can be found in fabrics? What is the cultural significance of material? How can they be ‘read’? What can fabrics tell us about their origins, meanings and social roles? Which traditional textile techniques have artists appropriated, abstracted, relocated and brought back to life?
In 1965, the Bauhaus artist Anni Albers described “the event of a thread” as something multilinear, without beginning or end: more broadly, it meant the constant possibility of reassessing relations and restructuring connections. This reconfigurative vision is illustrated by the objects, installations and video essays assembled in the exhibition, which disclose the specific qualities of textiles, their contexts and their histories. In this way, the works highlight the complex ways in which “textility” is interwoven in our lives.
Textiles are a site where art encounters handicraft, where traditions meet the present day, where local knowledge intersects with global relationships. Almost every part of the world has witnessed the complex inscription of textiles into cultural and industrial history. A fabric can tell us a lot about when and where particular materials became important, the migration of technologies and the development of techniques. The exhibition highlights the many and complex ways in which the participating artists have worked with textiles. The selection emphasizes both the transcultural dimensions of fabric and its entanglement in contemporary issues, examining how textile patterns and forms have developed under particular economic conditions and social structures. The artists link personal and aesthetic narratives with the social and economic circumstances of a globalized world.
Together with local artists and curators, the main body of the touring exhibition will be expanded with material relevant to location’s own textile history, connecting the exhibition with the work of artists associated with that city. This raises a new set of questions: How does the significance of the “thread” change as it moves through different locations? How can the exhibition connect with each new context, with the textures of its everyday life, and with its history, which is partly shared and partly unique?
Artists: Ulla von Brandenburg, Noa Eshkol, Andreas Exner, Uli Fischer, Zille Homma Hamid, Heide Hinrichs, Olaf Holzapfel, Christa Jeitner, Elisa van Joolen & Vincent Vulsma, Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf, Karen Michelsen Castañón, Judith Raum, Franz Erhard Walther
Curators: Susanne Weiß, in collaboration with Inka Gressel, ifa