23 mai 2011

Rethinking needlework, a symposium

Last week-end I went to the symposium "Rethinking Needlework", held in Zürich on the occasion of the exposition "Neue Masche" at Museum Bellerive, Zürich.

Rethinking Needlework.
Discursive threads in current art and design production

Friday, May 20, 7 pm
Museum Bellerive, welcome address followed by a tour of the exhibition with the curators

Saturday, May 21, 10 am–6:30 pm
Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Vortragssaal
Admission: CHF 25/15
Lectures by Matilda Felix, Petter Hellsing, Jessica Hemmings, Verena Kuni, Patricia Waller; artist interventions by frfr-international (Marlen Groher; Corinna Mattner), Regula Michell/Meret Wandeler, Rüdiger Schlömer; sampling threads, performance by Ines Bauer, Steffen Schmidt and Désirée Zappa, MAS/CAS study course, Cultural Media Studies ZHdK

The exhibition was great, with lots of different propositions and nicely put together. It was nice to see some of the artwork I knew from photos on the web in real life. I was a little disapointed though, and I will explain why in my next post.

The symposium was very interesting to me, even if most of the contributions where in german which made it harder for me to understand. It gave me lots of food for thoughts and inspiration for further research.

The positive result of feeling a bit lonely in this german speaking context was that it gave me the courage to go and talk to some of the other isolated persons (or the one I guessed would be the most open to a discussion in english). Three where particularly awesome to me.
  • I am very happy I met Jessica Hemmings, who patiently listened to my thoughts (see next post) and helped me with my chocolat cake. She showed us wonderful art that I did not know at all, was funny and clever and really interesting to listen and talk to. When I grow up, I want to be her and write amazing books and articles about textile art and artists.
  • The-gnittinK-Room project artist, Rüdiger Schlömer, is not afraid to play with the knitting needles. He seems fun and curious about everything that may be a link, a thread or a motive. I want to play the "what if" game with him and see what happens. (And Rüdiger, if you read this, you really should try to see what happens if/when you finish even the smallest or simplest project, a hat for example.)
  • Then artist Petter Hellsing moved me with his project "Little cabin in the wood". His tales - the ones he embroider (check his project "the living room") and the ones he tells - made me think a lot about the relationship between textile and intimacy. Textile is deeply rooted in the history of humanity. In fact, I believe that textile is one of the strongest root of humanity and culture. (I will save the these I have on this subject for another time.) Of that, I have been convinced since a long time now. But I don't think I thought that much about intimacy before. Really, of all the visual arts, textile arts only use the material that we allow to touch us intimately in a daily basis. That is a very inspiring idea for me.

I am very happy and thankful that such an event happened in my own country, not too far from where I live. I only wish I could be part of this textile world more often.

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