Never alone. Heaven for one, hell for the other… To me this is my favorite work at the Rijswijk Textile Biennial (Netherlands). The color and look in the eyes, the choice of colors, the way the faces merge… Artist Lia de Jonghe (NL) is fascinated by pairs, she embroiders portraits from existing couples, or she creates one. Doing so, sometimes scars arise, like in the work shown on top. To Lia they may be seen, because no one is free of scars.
To me Lia is an expert in “portraying the eye”. You probably understand what I mean when you see her work Overgang (Transition).
In the following piece Lia integrates needle weaving in her work. Of course as an embroidery addict I’m exited about that!
Another example of beautiful needle-weaving is the work of Mark Newman (USA). He combines this technique with embroidered stitches in multiple layers. Mark “plays” with the concept of stoppages, he transforms it to something modern. He approaches the damaged textile as a kind of scars which he “heals”, just like the body can heal itself.
Lot’s of portraits
At the Biennial there are more portraits to see, for example the work of artist Noora Schroderus (Finland). She creates portraits by embroidering banknotes, something different, isn’t it? By doing so she makes fun of mighty men and changes fixed value in the same time.
Nigel Cheney (UK), textile designer, also focuses on the portrait in his work Family Portrait. It’s made of recycled uniforms and duffle bags. Doing research for this work Cheney realized that relatives of fallen soldiers, mostly don’t remember, to be able to continue with their lives. With this work he gives a face to pushed memories.
David B. Smith (USA) is another artist showing an embroidered portrait, it’s calledWitness. Smith’s work relates to his inquiry into how our physical bodies are relating to the digital world in the midst of intense technological and social change. This particular portrait refers to Mark Zuckerberg during his senate hearing in 2018, complete with a mask-like grid overlay of AI emotion-analyzing software.
Other figurative works
At the Biennial there are lot’s of figurative works to see. Like the “landscapes” of Lawrence James Bailey (1976, UK/NL), made of collected materials from his surroundings, which he photographs and combines to make new representations.
In this detailed photo you can see some “good old fashioned embroidery”. It looks surprisingly “fresh”, combined with the bright almost neon colors.
Another figurative piece of work is from Elizabeth Fram (USA), showing a still life on textile.
Kristine Fornes (1971, Norway), makes beautiful work in a quite different style. Like Flower Cry, which looks very different from varying distances. From afar it wasn’t really my cup of tea, up close I enjoyed the beautiful color palette and type of yarn very much.
Another figurative piece of art is the embroidered photo from (porn) Blue Boy Magazine, from Max Colby (USA). The embroidered flowers increase the tension of what can and cannot be seen.
Besides figurative works, I was happy to find some abstract works as well, like Kristine Fornes work Large grown weeping beach. It touched me due to it’s fragile appearance. At the same times the work consist of firm vintage textile, which is damaged and mended at places. This way Kristine heals the textile’s “wounds” by giving it a new life.
To me the work of Ana Teresa Baraboza (1981, Peru) was quite inpressive. Ana is fascinated by what nature brings and what mankind can do. Her work is mostly woven with some stitches here and there, but I’ts definitely worth showing at this embroidery blog.
Another work that really got my attention, although also not embroidered but woven, is this carpet from Kata Unger (1961, Germany). It has something spacy about it, I felt like looking at the universe… As a fan of science fiction books and films I just hád to show you this work of art… Just love it.
When I compare this Biennial with that of 2017 two years ago I was more excited about it then, it impressed me more… I remember touching work of Jennis Dutton about demented people and astonishing embroidered portraits of Ji Seon Yoon. Take a look here if you want to see: http://www.museumrijswijk.nl/pers/rijswijk-textiel-biennale-2017-2.
But taste is personal, isn’t it? So just visit this textile Biennial, it’s definitely worth it. It’s on till October 6 2019. Besides, I can’t say enough that Museum Rijswijk is a great place to be: the nice garden, the well stocked bookshop, the friendly staff and the atmospheric building.
More information about the artists?
Here you can find links to the websites of the artists shown above: http://lawrencejamesbailey.blogspot.com/, http://anateresabarboza.blogspot.com/, http://nigelcheney.com/, https://www.maxcolby.com/, http://www.kristinefornes.no/, https://elizabethfram.com/, http://liadejonghe.nl/, http://www.nooraschroderus.com/, http://www.thedavidsmith.com/, http://kata-unger.com/.
Here a link for more information about the Museum: http://www.museumrijswijk.nl/
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