Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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Date | 03.06.2015, 7.00 p.m.
Venue | Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Lehárgasse 8 , 1060 Vienna, 1. floor studio north

Book presentation on the occassion of the exhibition opening of Katrin Mayer, European Kunsthalle as guest of Chambre d'amis.


Textiles: Open Letter

The increased presence of textile procedures and materials in recent art and exhibition practice raises a number of issues concerning their past and present roles. From a current perspective, textiles—and the history of movements like Fiber Art—are exemplary in the way they call into question the traditional boundaries of genre whose mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion have shaped modern art (history)—be it gender-specific attributions, a favoring of optical over tactile principles, a hierarchy of materials and media, or the divide between discourse and craft. While on the one hand this reappraisal highlights various interrelations between the different fields—especially with regard to textiles’ exhibition history—the above-mentioned oppositions have (almost) ceased to provide a source of tension for contemporary productions. How has the way we look at textiles shifted? And what functions do they have in contemporary artistic practice?


Textiles: Open Letter examines the referential and analytical qualities of textiles through both contemporary and historical works and references: the publication with contributions by Elissa Auther, Sabeth Buchmann, Rike Frank, Florian Pumhösl, Judith Raum, Seth Siegelaub, T’ai Smith, Georg Vasold, Leire Vergara, and Grant Watson is edited by Rike Frank and Grant Watson in cooperation with Sabine Folie, Georgia Holz, and Susanne Titz for the Generali Foundation, Vienna, and Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, designed by Martha Stutteregger, and published by Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2015.

The image sections document, among others, the exhibition Textiles: Open Letter. Abstraktionen. Textilien. Kunst (Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach) with works and materials by:

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anni Albers, Carl Andre, Leonor Antunes, Tonico Lemos Auad, Thomas Bayrle, Jagoda Buic, Heinrich Clasing, Yael Davids, Sofie Dawo, Ria van Eyk, Hans Finsler, Elsi Giauque, Sheela Gowda, Eva Hesse, Sheila Hicks, Loes van der Horst, Johannes Itten, Elisabeth Kadow, Paul Klee, Benita Koch-Otte, Heinrich Koch, Beryl Korot, Konrad Lueg, Agnes Martin, Katrin Mayer, Cildo Meireles, Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, Nasreen Mohamedi, Walter Peterhans, Edith Post-Eberhardt, Josephine Pryde, Florian Pumhösl, Grete Reichardt, Elaine Reichek, Willem de Rooij, Desirée Scholten, Johannes Schweiger, Gunta Stölzl, Lenore Tawney, Rosemarie Trockel, Vincent Vulsma; as well as historical materials and patterns from the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Burg Giebichenstein, Textilmuseum Krefeld, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Foundation Toms Pauli; a selection of publications from Seth Siegelaub’s Center for Social Research on Old Textiles, and Coptic fabrics from the Museum Abteiberg collection.

Textile Theorien der Moderne. Alois Riegl in der Kunstkritik

Textiles play a decisive role in the founding of modern art history and art criticism. Beginning with Alois Riegl’s examination of Gottfried Semper, the reassessment of historical debate on textiles allowed formalism to be interpreted as (among others) a socio-aesthetic and/or politico-economic positioning of art. With essays by Elke Gaugele, Hanne Loreck, Katrin Mayer, Regine Prange, T’ai Smith, and Georg Vasold. Textile Theorien der Moderne is edited by Sabeth Buchmann and Rike Frank, produced by HIT Berlin based on a design by Michael Dreyer, and published in the PoLYpeN series by b_books, Berlin 2015.

The exhibition and research project Textiles: Open Letter was initiated by Rike Frank ad Grant Watson in cooperation with Sabeth Buchmann and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Leire Vergara and Bulegoa z/b Bilbao. Funded by Allianz Kulturstiftung, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Kunststiftung NRW, Hans Fries-Stiftung, and Mondriaan Fonds.