Textiles – Art and the Social Fabric


M HKA, Antwerpen

10 September 2009 - 03 January 2010

*Textiles Art and the Social Fabric* is an exhibition of artist who use textiles materials or related concepts, tapping this medium’s potential to communicate complex layers of social meaning and to address the political as it appears in subjects such as labour, culture, identity, protest and display. Textiles are positioned close to the body but expand outwards to occupy civic space; they connect to human subjectivity through clothing and gesture, to the expression of political ideas in flags and banners, to the built environment in relation to architecture, and to the economy through processes of production and the movement of trade. Although situated on the margins, textiles have also been linked to genealogies of art history for example through royal tapestries, feminist movements such as fibre art and Modernist aesthetic as they have been applied to textile design. With a conceptual rather than medium specific focus, this exhibition features different kinds of work including sculpture, installation, tapestry, books, banners, photography and film. It responds to the artistic as well as economic importance of textiles in Flanders which goes back to the Middle-Ages and draws on local knowledge in the production of several new commissions. Contemporary and historical works from Belgium, Brazil, Germany, India, Mali, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States also demonstrate the international dimension of both the exhibition and the aesthetic and political questions associated with the textile medium.

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