Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Kunst und Textil" exhibition in Stuttgart

When I set up my visit to the Textiles in Art exhibition in Bielefeld in January, my husband had suggested that I take a round trip, continue from Bielefeld to Wolfsburg, and also visit the exhibition “Kunst und Textil” (Art and textiles) there. The two had been been reviewed together in an article in the newspaper, as they had opened at about the same time and had very similar runs. However, doing them both one after the other in January wasn’t possible, as my son was traveling with me and we had to get back for school after the Christmas holidays. And I had already resigned myself to not being able to see the exhibition in Wolfsburg. But then I found out that this exhibition would be shown at a second venue, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, starting on March 21. Now that’s a shorter distance from where we live, in a direction where I am much more oriented – and I soon found a way how to combine a visit with other commitments.
This weekend I am teaching IQ for the Nürtingen quilt group. I had already made plans to combine this trip with picking up my quilts at Freiburg after the conclusion of my exhibition there. And Nürtingen is close to Stuttgart. A bit of rearranging the travel arrangements – the exhibition had to be done before the workshop, as the museum would be closed on Monday, so I would also pick up my quilts in Freiburg before teaching instead of after.
Thursday I drove to Freiburg – with a lengthy bit of traffic jam that I circumvented partly through remainders of local knowledge from when I grew up in the area of Karlsruhe. But traffic jams aren’t only annoying, they also give you opportunities for interesting photo shots.

Taking down an exhibition is always much faster than putting it up.

Spent the night with friends up in the Black Forest, and then on to Stuttgart. (No – my carbon footprint these days has not been exemplary at all. In my defense I can say, though, that I was smart enough to hop onto the S-Bahn from Stuttgart from Böblingen, my evening destination, which saved me the stress of driving in the city, finding expensive parking, and, most importantly, driving back there in Friday afternoon traffic.) 

Of course, no photography allowed in the exhibition, and because I already have so many others I had decided in advance that I did not want to buy the catalogue, although the exhibition was very good and interesting. There were so many guards in attendance that I decided to be really good girl and not take any illegal photographs. A few overlaps occurred with the exhibition in Bielefeld in terms of names of artists on display, but obviously this would mean other works by the same artists. The exhibit in Stuttgart puts slightly less emphasis on the Bauhaus-effect in textile art than the exhibit in Bielefeld did - it mentions only Anni Albers from amongst the Bauhaus women, with more emphasis on her works after her emigration to the US and her influence on ‘fiber art’ as such. Pieces of Raphia fabrics from Kongo or a large piece of Tapa fabric made from bark fibre from the Fidji islands show interesting correspondences to modern day design as it is familiar to us today, a felt cape from an Anatolian(?) shepherd, a tribal belt or necklace with tied knots and a divan cover from Bauhaus and are juxtaposed with works by Birgit Dieker, Ghada Amer, Brice Marden, Mike Kelly, Joseph Beuys, as is another Mappa by Alieghiero e Boetti from the 1970s with two small hooked rugs from Afghanistan in the best tradition – with military helicopters and war machinery as their ornaments. That certainly gave me the creeps.
My absolute favorite piece in the whole exhibition was  Lenore Tawney’s piece. (Lots of pictures of her works here and here.)

This must be the one I really liked - picture from the web.

The audio-guide did not really live up to my expectations for a its cost of 5 euros, in fact, I consider that a complete rip-off. Though it was fun to listen to a few of the pieces in the children’s tour, which I did when no ‘adult’ number was listed. If I hadn’t wasted this amount I might have relented and bought myself the catalogue after all…

Definitely a must-go for anybody who is interested in textile art and gets to go to Stuttgart in the next few weeks!

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