Looking at textile as an artistic tool capable of provoking change and reacting to political and social conditions as “an experimental medium attentive to the new ecologies of production, as a questioner of borders and limits or their nonexistence”.
Contemporary artists are not only making art in dialog with nature, but also with the digital – and at times at the intersection of both. Scarlett Yang, for example, creates “living garments” from algae extracts and silk cocoon proteins and uses virtual reality to simulate the process of their decay. Working with organic and recycled wool, Andrea Garcia Vasquez is currently producing a series of rugs, titled “Shapes of Destruction” – a project funded by Kulturamt Leipzig and the Kulturstiftung der Freistaates Sachsen. The design of the tufted works references Google Earth screenshots from the deforestation of the Amazon – 10% of proceeds from sales are also donated to Amazon Watch.
A current artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Qualeasha Wood creates tufting and tapestries that draw on references from the internet and digital media in explorations of Black femininity. With their irregular edges and shapes, her tufting take on organic forms, moving from two-dimensional screen to three-dimensional body.
Kalinca Costa Söderlund , the Founder of Arriere-Garde, nterviews David Magila, a São Paulo-based artist with decades of research and production based on Brazilian architecture and its complexities.
What these works and artists underline are some of the ways textile art can approach urgent topics of the present. This is something that is also being explored at the Contextile 2022 - Contemporary Textile Art Biennial in Portugal, under the theme of “Re-Make” – looking at textile as an artistic tool capable of provoking change and reacting to political and social conditions as “an experimental medium attentive to the new ecologies of production, as a questioner of borders and limits or their nonexistence”.
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An exhibition, “Experimental Fashion and Fiber Art 2022” is also being planned at CICA Museum in South Korea later this year. And, Textile Culture Net, an international network founded in 2020 in response to the pandemic, has been using Instagram to showcase diverse perspectives on textile art and is now curating online exhibitions with various partners around the world.
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