Too web or not too web
You might remember that last summer I attended a fiber arts workshop (Sacred White) at one of my favorite museums, the Musée Jean-Lurçat in Angers (France). Well, last week I had the great pleasure of doing it again! These workshops are always centered around the current exhibition, and this time it was about the 10th international triennial exhibition of mini-textiles. This exhibition is always so amazing, so varied and original. If you come to the Loire Valley before the end of May, you should definitely stop by!
Here are a few words about the exhibition, borrowed from the museum's website (what? me, lazy?...)
"For the 7th consecutive edition in Angers, the Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine is organizing and hosting the 10th international triennial exhibition of mini-textiles. This year’s theme, proposed by Pierre Daquin is: “Too web or not to web”. For over fifteen years, the city of Angers and its contemporary tapestry museum have been home to this eagerly-awaited gathering between contemporary textile creation and the public. Each artist presents a work that is made by using thread or another similar material. The work’s dimensions should not be greater than 12 x 12 x 12 cm (in surface or volume). The small format marries talent and diversity: the triennial attracts established and emerging artists and is a place where the young and not-so-young rub shoulders." (source: http://musees.angers.fr/langues-etrangeres/english/the-exhibitions/10th-international-triennial-of-mini-textiles/index.html)
(NB: 12 cm is approximately 4,7")
So, in the museum's little studio, we each started working on our own little weaving loom! The theme of the exhibition is a play on the word "web" (textile and internet) so we were supposed to keep this in mind as well as the "minitextile" format. I don't know why, but I instantly felt that my textile's look should be the opposite of "technological". I didn't want it to be smooth or geometrical. On the contrary, I needed it to feel natural, with contrasted textures and colors reminiscent of moss, bark, grass, feathers and sea mist... I needed it to feel messy, soft and rugged, like life is, something you couldn't help touching... I needed it to feel the opposite of virtual, I needed it to feel REAL.
Then, when I took it off the loom, I started to stroke it and twist it. I decided it shouldn't remain flat and ultimately I gave it a curved shape, like a nest. And then it needed to hold something inside it, some sort of egg... I was still thinking about our assigned theme, about virtual vs. real, about how the web affects our real lives.
I looked up the word "real" ("réel" in French) on Wikipedia and there, in front of my computer, I thought: "So this is 'real'... oh but at the same time it's not, because I'm reading it on my computer screen, so it's a virtual thing too... this is fun!" So I decided to push it a bit further: I printed the text (on a real sheet of paper, with real ink) then cut it into strips that I glued to one another so that it became a really long strip (deconstruction / reconstruction of reality??). I rolled it and locked it into a little clear, smooth, not-so-natural plastic bubble... There is my egg! Its round shape could figure the Earth, and I wrapped some wired string around it (connections? prison?...)
It's funny how the first part of the work was very intuitive and the second part weirdly intellectual... But after all, on Wikipedia, the last word of the definition of the word "réel" is... "psychose" (psychosis)! So I guess in some way it makes sense...