- Pressemitteilung BoxID 406005
Textiles: Open Letter
Abstractions, Textiles, Art
22 June – 10 November 2013
Opening: Saturday, 22 June, 8 pm
Before the opening, at 6 pm – as part of Ensemblia 2013:
Morton Feldman, Crippled Symmetry (1982), concert in the exhibition, musikFabrik Köln
Press preview: Thursday, 20 June, 11 am
With works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anni Albers, Leonor Antunes, Tonico Lemos Auad, Thomas Bayrle, Yael Davids, Sofie Dawo, Hans Finsler, Willem de Rooij, Elsi Giauque, Sheela Gowda, Sheila Hicks, Elisabeth Kadow, Paul Klee, Heinrich Koch, Beryl Korot, Agnes Martin, Katrin Mayer, Cildo Meireles, Nasreen Mohamedi, Lygia Pape, Walter Peterhans, Josephine Pryde, Florian Pumhösl, Elaine Reichek, Fred Sandback, Désirée Scholten, Gunta Stölzl, Johannes Schweiger, Lenore Tawney, Rosemarie Trockel, Vincent Vulsma et al.
Curated by Rike Frank and Grant Watson
As one of the oldest techniques in human culture, textiles store knowledge and labour and communicate via form. The woven structures are based on a system of intersecting threads leading via seriality and repetition to complexity and beauty. While textiles have been used extensively by artists as material, structure, texture and artefact to reflect on forms, processes and abstractions, they have been largely ignored by art history. And while there are many words for weaving, and the connection between textile and text is one of the oldest metaphors in architecture, philosophy and sociology, textiles, having been primarily viewed as a craft, have barely developed an impact within the art historical discourse on modernity, remaining little more than a footnote.
Based on the principle of woven structure and the thread as an organic line - as described, for example, by Paul Klee - 'Textiles: Open Letter' creates a dialogue between historical works and those of a younger generation. The featured works reflect issues of abstraction and materiality and challenge preconceptions of weaving. Large-scale sculptures, wall hangings and reduced formations of lines push the limits of material and structure, improvisation and poetry. Especially since the Bauhaus, an influence has been exerted on textiles by material experiments and performative procedures from fine art and dance. During the 1970s, a number of women artists - including Leonor Tawney, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Sheila Hicks - created the Fibre Art movement with the aim of establishing an independent status for textiles as part of a feminist praxis: in close contact with Minimalist artists including Agnes Martin, and in some cases on the basis of training in the Bauhaus tradition, they designed monumental structures that moved beyond the technical limitations of the loom. Today, artists like Beryl Korot, Nasreen Mohamedi and Florian Pumhösl pursue aspects of serial notation as suggested by textiles, while Lygia Pape and Thomas Bayrle use the metaphor of the city as a social fabric as a point of departure in their work.
The exhibition shows the many and varied ways in which the history of Minimal and Conceptual art, movements that shaped the Museum Abteiberg collection, was influenced by textiles, and the extent to which textiles have often been excluded from the canon on account of their position between applied and fine art and their perception as 'feminine'. In this sense, the title 'Open Letter' - that refers to a work by Bauhaus artist Anni Albers from 1958 - is to be understood as an invitation to rethink the influence of textiles on art and vice versa, as well as the key role played by textiles in the development of an abstract visual language.
In cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung and funded by Kunststiftung NRW.
The exhibition is part of the project Textiles: Open Letter by Rike Frank (Berlin), Grant Watson (London), Sabeth Buchmann (Vienna) and Leire Vergara (Bilbao). For details of events since summer 2012, see: www.textilesopenletter.info.
In 2014 'Textiles: Open Letter' will be on view at the Generali Foundation in Vienna.
Rike Frank is a curator and writer. She was a research associate at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig where she initiated the Studio International programme for the Academy's gallery, curating exhibitions including the first comprehensive solo show of Friedl vom Gröller (a.k.a. Friedl Kubelka), as well as initiating the conference on 'Timing - The Temporal Dimension of Exhibiting' in cooperation with the 'Cultures of the Curatorial' class. Between 2008 and 2010, she was on the programming board of the European Kunsthalle and co-curated Ludlow 38 in New York. She was a project manager at documenta 12 in Kassel and worked at the Secession in Vienna from 2001 to 2005, where she worked with artists including Michael Beutler, Minerva Cuevas, Ines Doujak, Henrik Håkansson, Mary Heilman, Michael Krebber, Silvia Kolbowski, Henrik Olesen, Josephine Pryde, de Rijke / de Rooij & Christoper Williams. Her most recent publications include Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors by Sarah Pierce (2013).
Grant Watson is Senior Curator at the Institute of International Visual Art (Iniva) London and also works as a freelance curator and writer. At Iniva his exhibitions have included 'Social Fabric' (2012) an exhibition on textiles touring to Lund, Mumbai and Berlin, 'Keywords' (2013) in collaboration with Tate, and a solo show of Indian artist Sheela Gowda (2011) - he has also co-curated 'Sheela Gowda: Open Eye Policy' (2013) at the Van Abbemuseum and Lunds Konsthal. Until April 2010, he was Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (MuKHA) where his projects included the large-scale textiles survey show 'Textiles Art and the Social Fabric' (2009), the exhibition 'Santhal Family positions around an Indian sculpture' (2008) and the 'Keywords' lecture series. He was previously the Curator of Visual Arts at Project in Dublin between 2000 and 2005 where his programme focused on commissioning solo projects from contemporary Irish and international artists as well as group exhibitions such as 'Communism' (2005). Grant Watson was 'Visiting Curator' for documenta 12 (2007) where he researched the participation of contemporary Indian artists in the exhibition. He studied Curating and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, London, where he is currently a PhD candidate.
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