ISTANBUL: Muse Contemporary is organizing a new exhibition that focuses on contemporary textile art within the scope of the Başkent Culture Road Festival in the capital Ankara. Bringing together female artists from eight different countries and cultures under the same roof, the exhibition “Weaving Tradition/Future” at Cermodern brings a new perspective to an art form that is not taken seriously because of its gendered past.
The foreign female artists of the exhibition have been invited to Turkey by Muse Contemporary under the auspices of their countries’ embassies and in collaboration with cultural attachés. Contemporary and pioneering interpreters of textile art from Finland, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Turkey are featured in the selection prepared by curator Ayşe Pınar Akalın.
Until recently, textile was not accepted by the masses as a valid art medium. This situation, partially due to the form’s functionality, causes it to be accepted as a craft rather than an artistic effort. However, the biggest reason that prevents textile from being taken seriously in the art world is that it is associated with one gender. Textile arts such as weaving, knitting, sewing and embroidery have been seen as “women’s work” in various cultures throughout history and have therefore been largely pushed aside. On the other hand, it should be considered that textile art is one of the oldest meaning transmitters accompanying cave paintings.
Textile artists protect the art form by destroying the prejudices surrounding it and reusing the medium with strong expressions today. In this context, Muse Contemporary aims to bring forward a branch of art that empowers women. With contemporary textile interpretations of artists from different cultures and countries, the exhibition conveys strong expressions.
At the exhibition, in which artists from seven countries attend besides Turkey, at least three works by each artist are exhibited. The artists in the exhibition use their handcrafted works as a tool to convey strong expressions on the themes of femininity and tradition.
Jenny Ymker from the Netherlands creates her own fantasy world in reality in the photographs she weaves into the tapestry. Kimathi Mafafo from South Africa continues the legacy of her grandmother by remembering her teachings on weaving and embroidery. Lithian Ricci from Italy encourages women’s cooperation in the rugs she weaves with Turkish female artisans. Lotta-Pia Kallio from Finland sees the work process as a ritual in which the used and broken change shape and are born into other forms. Maria Munoz from Spain refers to the joy of life we have been deprived of after the pandemic with embroidery pieces made of recycled silk threads. Petra Hultman from Sweden brings together miles of thread that has been knitted over countless hours with her large-scale lace installations. While Stephanie Laleuw from France gives life to her own fabricated pieces in her embroidery, crochet and ornaments, where she uses exuberant colors as well as collection items; Suzan Batu from Turkey draws attention to the place of women in the male-dominated world with her goddesses made of Sümerbank fabrics.
The artists of the exhibition act as a bridge between the past and the future. They emphasize the importance of labor by reinterpreting the tradition and traditional through the lens of contemporary themes such as sustainability and recycling. By creating contemporary archives, they ensure that lost values are passed on to the next generations.
“Weaving Tradition/Future” will run until June 12 and can be visited free of charge at Cermodern.
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