Friday, July 08, 2011

Venice Biennale: Collateral Events - Fondazione Cini - Penelope's Labour:Weaving Words and ImagesImages

Fondazione Giorgio Cini: Penelope’s Labour: Weaving Words and Images.  Until September 18 on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore in the Sala del Convito of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini is the exhibition Penelope’s Labour: Weaving Words and Images. The exhibition of contemporary and antique tapestries, embroidery and carpets was curated by Adam Lowe and Jerry Brotton and produced and organised by the Giorgio Cini Foundation in collaboration with Factum Arte, Madrid. The exhibition of 20 large-scale works ranging from invaluable late 15th-century tapestries to Boetti's hand-woven tapestries and contemporary works made by combining the mechanical Jacquard loom and digital art, highlights how "woven images" are once more at the heart of artistic practice. In addition to several significant antique tapestries from the Cini Foundation and private collections, the exhibition features contemporary tapestries and carpets by Azra Aksamija, Lara Baladi, Alighiero Boetti, Manuel Franquelo, Carlos Garaicoa, Craigie Horsfield, Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, Grayson Perry and Marc Quinn.
Above: Grayson Perry - Walthamstow Tapestry.  Grayson Perry's enormous Walthamstow Tapestry, 2009, (290 x 1500 cm), wool and silk, Flanders Tapestries, starts from the Medieval tapestries beloved of Flemish weavers to create a vast tormented, personal allegory of the evils of contemporary life. The artist weaves a story that is a highly subjective interpretation of the "Seven Ages of Man". Following the classic tapestry direction from left to right, he combines the Christian iconography of the Virgin Mary and Christ in confessional, autobiographical elements interwoven with the modern consumerist icons. The result is a personal, profoundly idiosyncratic woven image that becomes the basis for the "craftsman" Perry to make further spellbinding transformations.

A detail. Grayson Perry - Walthamstow Tapestry

 Photograph courtesy Giorgio Cini Foundation

Grayson Perry

Marc Quinn - Pixelation of the Hearth. Marc Quinn also uses the Jacquard loom to weave his sensations and surreal orchids, Pixelation of a Hybrid, 2011, (290 x 290 cm), wool and silk; Pixelation of the Hearth, (2011 280 x 436 cm), wool and silk, Flanders Tapestries. They are modelled on the intricate abstract style of the so-called "verdure" Renaissance tapestries. But Quinn employees computerised weaving techniques to make his flowers – livid and hyper-real, they are permeated by the odour of mortality. He sees the woven knots as being like pixels and the tapestry like the translation of a painting into sculpture starting from digital data which will form the DNA of the final image. From foetuses to flowers, from blood to wool, as we follow the development of Marc Quinn's art we realise how the path taken inevitably led him to specialise in tapestries.

Photograph courtesy Giorgio Cini Foundation

Lara Baladi - Sandouk el Dounia (The World in a Box). Lara Baladi's collage of photographic prints on cloth entitled Sandouk el Dounia (The World in a Box), 2007, (640 x 790 cm), wool and silk, Flanders Tapestries, collage of 900 10 x 15 cm C41 photographic prints, conjures up an almost one-dimensional fresco with no perspective but full of figures and stories, like the earliest tapestries, to create her own myths from a fragmentary and global world which continually bombards us with a barrage of contradictory images. Her work recalls the earliest moving images of the magic lantern as she creates a multifaceted labyrinth of scenes from Cairo, Beirut, New York and London. Baladi draws on her cosmopolitan experience to merge the abstract patterns of Persian rugs and the moralising narratives of the European mediaeval tapestry. Archetypical female figures from Oriental myths are transformed into Western characters – including Charlie’s Angels in a vertiginous and unending game of snakes and ladders.

A detail. Lara Baladi - Sandouk el Dounia (The World in a Box)


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