The Event of a Thread | Das Ereignis eines Fadens

Noa Eshkol

Noa Eshkol (b. 1924 – d. 2007) grew up on a kibbutz in Palestine. Collective labor would later be an important aspect of her work as an artist, dancer, and dance theorist. After studying music in Tel Aviv and dance at the Tehila Ressler School, she moved to London in 1946 to train at the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester, and later at the Sigurd Leeder School of Modern Dance in London. In 1950, she returned to Israel, where she taught movement and dance at several schools and universities. In 1954, she founded the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group to continue her studies in movement, working with a small number of dancers. She developed a movement notation system which transposes bodily movements into lines, numbers, and symbols, registering them in a grid structure. In 1973, she began to make wall carpets from found textiles. In recent years, international exhibitions featuring her work have included the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2011), LACMA, Los Angeles, the Jewish Museum, New York, TBA21, Vienna (2012); the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, Opelvillen, Rüsselsheim (2013); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2014), the 20th Sydney Biennale, and the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2016).

Noa Eshkol: Desert Landscape with Birds, 1990s, cotton, synthetic fibre, cellulose, lurex; photo: Uwe Walther, © Noa Eshkol
Desert Landscape With Birds, um 1990
Noa Eshkol: Arab Village at Night, 1982, cotton, polyester, velvet, satin, crepe fabric, wool gabardine, taffeta, panne velvet; photo: Uwe Walther, © Noa Eshkol
Arab Village at Night, 1982

Two patchworks, various fabrics; photos: Uwe Walther, © Noa Eshkol

When a member of the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group served in the military during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the choreographer began creating wall carpets made of found or donated uncut pieces of fabric. Seemingly negative residues create positive unexpected shapes. Over the years, Eshkol made collages out of a wide range of fabrics and patterns, ranging from kaffiyehs to remnants of uniforms: elaborate figurative or abstract compositions which her dancers later sewed together. Her unusual tapestries shed light on a unique relationship between modern art and dance. (The Eshkol-Wachmann Movement Notation Center, Holon)