The Event of a Thread | Das Ereignis eines Fadens

Elisa van Joolen & Vincent Vulsma

Elisa van Joolen (b. 1983) is a designer, artist and researcher based in Amsterdam. She holds a BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam (2006) and MFA from Parsons in New York City (2012). She was artist in resident at Iaspis in Stockholm (2016). Her approach to design is characterized by strategies of intervention and reconfiguration. Her projects often reflect specific social contexts and emphasize collaboration and participation. They expose relational aspects of clothing and subvert processes of value production. Her work has been recognized with a Han Nefkens Award (2016), Fulbright Award (2010), and nominated for the Dutch Design Award (2013) and New Material Award (2014). She participated in shows and exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, New York Fashion Week, 5th Brazilian Design Biennial in Florianopolis, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, OCAT Art Terminal in Shenzhen and West Bund Art Center in Shanghai.

Vincent Vulsma
(b. 1982) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 2002 to 2006, and was a participant at De Ateliers in Amsterdam between 2006 and 2008. Solo exhibitions include 'A Sign of Autumn' at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2011) and 'ARS NOVA E5305-B' at Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender, Berlin (2009). Vulsma participated in group exhibitions at Musée d’Art Moderne,  Paris (2013); Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2013); De Vleeshal, Middelburg (2013); Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2012); and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2012). Residencies include Villa Romana, Florence (2011) and the Arts Initiative Tokyo (2014). His work explores the tensions between autonomous art and the sociopolitical relations underlying its production. Important starting points for his investigations are the history and economy of cultural appropriation.

Elisa van Joolen & Vincent Vulsma: Technik, 2012–2013, Navajo Indian weaving, ca. 1890‘s; Pendleton Indian Trade Blanket, ca. 1910; Ikea, Lappljung Ruta; Bernhard Willhelm, Chevron Print; photo: Uwe Walther, © Elisa van Joolen & Vincent Vulsma
Technik, 2012–2013, Navajo Indian weaving, transitional period, ca. 1890’s, hand woven, natural wool; Pendleton Indian Trade Blanket, J. Capps & Sons Tribute #2, based on an original design c. 1910, felt binding, pure virgin wool and cotton, made in the USA; Ikea, Lappljung Ruta, design by Anna Evferlund, machine woven, polypropylene, made in Egypt; Bernhard Willhelm, Chevron Print Sweater, AW 2012/2013, knitted, cotton and mohair, made in Belgium; metal clothing racks, dimensions variable; photo: Uwe Walther, © Elisa van Joolen & Vincent Vulsma

The collaborative work 'Technik' shows the confrontation between four ready-mades: a Navajo tribal motif from Arizona (1890); a Pendleton Indian trade blanket referring to early pattern designers who used local natives to develop preferences of color and pattern, bringing them into modern, technological blanket designs; an Ikea rug (2012), a tribute to early twentieth century weaving; and finally a fashion item from the Winter 2012–2013 Bernhard Willhelm collection. Through the dialogue between the components, Elisa van Joolen and Vincent Vulsma not only show strong formal-aesthetic relationships, they also emphasize how highly functional materials can migrate across various cultures, how they are appropriated and how forms survive historical, economic and social change, in a series of cultural shifts and value. They analyze cloth as a medium which communicates signs that are transferrable between highly different contexts and periods, while maintaining a memory, a trace.