Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tribal Art im Dialog mit zeitgenössischer Textilkunst

Mantra, Franka Lechner, 2008, 174 x 81 cm
Stumbled upon a wonderful show of textile art while looking for another museum in Vienna. The show is being held until November 2 at the künstlerhaus in the museum district.

The show juxtaposes "tribal" cloth from all over the world, some of it antique, with contemporary fibre art.

Ad Absurdum, Claudia Maria Luenig, 2009
The piece above, shown in context in photo #2, is a crocheted variation on a garment, suspended and stretched so that it casts a shadow on the gallery wall.

I Love You series, Nora Bachel, 2000/2002
I Love You,  Nora Bachel
Nora Bachel printed antique and contemporary grey-scale photo portraits onto embroidery cloth and superimposed the stitched words "I Love You" in colourful thread.

Das Lied der Flamme, Leena Naumanen, 2006, 50 x 170 cm

detail, Das Lied der Flamme, Leena Naumanen
Wo gehe ich hinLeena Naumanen, 2007, units 120 x 215 cm
Leena Naumanen wove distressed wooden slats into her work.

Tribal garments from various countries
hang in front of four panels by Tone Fink,1995 - 2000
It is always wonderful to discover cutting edge fibre art on one's travels. There is no doubt an interesting history behind the show, in that all the modern work dated from several years ago. The notes accompanying the show are in German, which I am unable to read. Please visit the website of the museum for more information in English.

Beyond their practical purpose or decorative function, the "tribal" pieces had a ritual or cultural significance. By exhibiting the contemporary with the indigenous, the viewer is invited to contemplate the ritual/cultural aspect of modern work in cloth. Fibre art is inherently heavily-worked, with a great commitment of hands-on time and skill by the maker. If the medium is the message, what is the medium saying that isn't said in painting or print-making, for example? How does it function within our "tribe"?


Anonymous said...

Happy chance to stumble upon some textiles! How does one incorporate "tribal" and cultural cloth into one's "every day" existence? Is it pretentious to do so? Is it less so if is traditional, or modern? Is it modern when it is no longer identifiable as from the culture in question?

Heather Dubreuil said...

I've thought about this a bit since I first posted, Lauma.

Pre-Renaissance, Western art was not often identified by the maker. It was mostly seen as a tribute by the community/church to God, and the artist was mostly an anonymous conduit. In the same way, the tribal art on display was labelled by country. The name of the individual maker is seen as irrelevant.

Today, the identity of the maker is deemed to be of vital importance. In fact, much of the contemporary art scene is driven by the value placed on one Big Name or another. Could it be said that our culture is now worshipping the celebrity of the individual artist?