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In Filoforme - Abstract ENG

FILO FORME anno 3 n. 5



Nowadays, contemporary textiles make up part of an extremely rich, multi-coloured, multi-faceted, and multi-segmented microcosm.
Often, these textiles are intertwined with historical references and territorial heritage. In addition, there are often traditional cultural instances and innovative thrusts from artistic, anthropologic, sociologic, philosophic and psychologic environments that gather their force from the material itself.

The monographic issue dedicated to this topic wants to provide “an open window overlooking the courtyard”; attentive to what is occurring in the field today, ready to capture the newly born or emerging trends, but also ready to receive that reality already well established and functioning in the sector for some time now.

This issue deals with single individual as well as groups; artists, artisans and creators, and all those who are involved in researching and experimenting the unusual – the re-use and the re-interpretation of those techniques tied to the past – giving the textile its own language and its own expressive and representative form.

The proposed articles are meant to be a first panoramic observation, and are exemplified by the various environments that are linked to current production and which make up the starting point for an open comparison and constructive dialogue – a dialogue open to all our readers.

Stefanella Sposito

Stefanella Sposito

He uses fabric as a metaphor, playing with African, exotic and authentic concepts. The Anglo-Nigerian artist Ynka Shonibare is a “dandy illuminated by the third millennium” and one who overturns the foundations of Western illusions with his installations – an example of which was recently presented at the Biennale d’Arte in Venice. A personal show, entitled BE-MUSE, was held in Rome from December-March 2002 at the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum, the workshop and home of the Norwegian-American sculptor (1872-1940). Two sculpture groups were presented – Henry James and Henrick C. Andersen and The Three Graces – life-size mannequins without heads (ie.:not belonging to any race) and dressed in European-cut garments dating from around the turn of the 1900’s – fashioned with showy, modern batik cotton fabrics. The garment was meant to make clear the presumed or asserted identities, the desires, the aspirations, the illusions … A sort of contaminated hybrid obtained through the use of elements that are apparently irreconcilable with one another. In a critical and incisive key the artist confronts those themes linked to colonialism, putting in evidence the strong contrasts between “culture of the product” and “product of a culture”.

Stefanella Sposito

In February of 2001 in the Modernariato Gallery in Milan, original carpets and tapestries – executed over the past 40 years – were on exhibit. A small selection (30 pieces) of this textile production were chosen by the gallery owner-entrepreneur Elio Palmisano. The exposition began with sketches and drawings by artists representative of the major artistic currents of the 1900’s, about 253 in all, from 1968-1998. Inspired by the intense production of “paintings out of cloth” by Depero, Palmisano interprets to the letter the “futurist revolution of the universe”. Palmisano implants his own production based on the techniques of craft weaving. This is the beginning of intense activity that includes as some of the strongest works: Fiori + spazio (Flowers + space) and Specchi d’acqua (Water Mirrors) by Balla, Ballerina by Serverini, and An Englishman in Moscow by Malevic. Kokoschka personally executed the project entitled La raggazza Li ed io (The girl Li and me). Contributions from other contemporary artists such as Dorazio with Arazzo reticolare (Net tapestry) (1981) and Andante blu (1984), Reggiani with Composizione astratta (Abstract composition), and Radice, Veronesi and Sottsass with Winter Day (1989).

Stefanella Sposito

Nature relives by means of the embroidery thread, guided through the canvas by the intense emotions of Marialuisa Sponga. Her most recent creations were on exhibit at the Textilmuseum in St. Gallen (Switzerland) between 26 June and 11 August 2002. Her latest production is realised with the assemblage of different materials, re-worked, quilted and machine embroidered. The artist takes a fascinating journey inside the landscape, and this becomes the leitmotiv of her investigation, an investigation articulated with a fine and many-faceted sensitivity. The series Campi cromatici (Colour fields) are in large-format and are inspired by the northern European islands. They contain large geometric partitions that are counterbalanced by fine outlines containing an explosion of pigments. The triptych Sentieri dell’infinito (Paths of infinity) appear to the viewer as gigantic geographical maps, and they bring to mind bark paintings and the entire Aborigine repertory. There are references to places in Italy in small-scale works: Tra terra e mare, viaggio in Gallura (Between the land and the sea, voyage in Gallura) a 4 page artist’s book, or, Aurora (Dawn) an assemblage with embroidery on steel canvas. More ethereal and aquatic is Autunno a Venezia (Autumn in Venice) inspired by the seascapes of the lagoon city.

Stefanella Sposito

Last May, Thessy Schoenholzer Nichols, a Swiss artist active in the United States and Europe, presented at the OOLP (OUT OF LONDON PRESS) bookshop in Turin, Piccoli Pensieri (Small Thoughts), a collection of 22 objects in handworked bobbin lace. The author allows herself fanciful digressions with the thread in exploring unusual and irregular forms that tend toward an intrinsic abstract harmony. Intertwined threads that communicate in a quiet and light fashion a strong sense of liberty. Thessy composes them from nothing, trying out rich expressive possibilities, using various threads – often different from one another – that are quickly bound together, and that then separate and take off in other directions. By means of studied material paths, her expert hands can transform a fine cotton thread in abstract thought – almost suggesting to our minds syllables and imaginary words. Her versatile training allows her to produce works that are in perfect autonomy and in great harmony with the most current artistic trends.