Strich & Faden


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"From cross stitch on scrap metal to knitted dog poo, Strich & Faden has got to be one of the most eclectic arts and crafts shows ever seen."
- Craft Gossip

"I was blown away.."
- Jenny Hart

"Amazing stuff."
- Dudecraft

"My jaw is dropping ..amazing .. beautiful.."
- Craftzine

"Solch eine Dichte spannender Ansätze sieht man sonst selten."
- Siegessäule

"Da darf es bisweilen trashig zugehen.."
- Tagesspiegel
 


Heimat, Folk-art and Travesty

preview

The international Berlin art show "Strich und Faden" offers subversive travesties of folk-art, and works that thematize regionalism, tribalism, cultural ownership, gender roles, and sexuality in innovative, thoughtful and humorous ways.

The folksy German expression "nach Strich und Faden" has its origin in the craft of weaving, where it was used when testing the cloth's quality. It means to do something thoroughly, with great artistry and precision, or according to the rules of an art or craft. In contemporary language it has gained connotations of trickery, deceit and travesty.

Travesty (in the sense of deceit and role playing) is a device present in many works in this show, either as an artistic attitude, or as a subject matter. It is often used by artists to subvert the traditions of Art & Crafts and nationalism. While often humorous, works like these nonetheless make serious and inspired statements about tribalism, regionalism, gender roles, and sexuality.   



News


The third edition of Strich & Faden takes place at the new location of Kunstraum Richard Sorge and friends in central Berlin. Stay tuned for details.

 









 






Participating Artists:

Part II


Peeter Allik - EST (linocut/lithoprint) pdf
Walter Bruno Brix - DE (embroidery) pdf
Ulrich Diezmann - DE (painting) pdf
Rinaldo Hopf - DE (painting) pdf
Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene - LT (embroidery on cars) pdf
Garth Johnson - USA (recycled collector's plates) pdf
Ai Kijima - USA (quilted collage) pdf
Charles Krafft - USA (sculpture/ceramics) pdf
Nava Lubelski - USA (embroidery) pdf
Natasza Niedziolka - DE (painting/sculpture) pdf
David Rios Ferreira - USA (gouache painting) pdf
Schalalala Knitting Circle - DE (knitting/social sculpture/net-art) pdf
Johanna Schweizer - NL (fiber sculpture) pdf
Hunter Stabler - USA (paper cutting) pdf
Sztuka Fabryka - BE (street-art/social sculpture) pdf
Tulip Enterprises - NL/DE (over painted vintage porcelain)
Georg Weise - DE (painting) pdf



Part I

Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek - NL (photography) pdf
Astrid Küver - DE (painting, knitting) pdf
Betty Stürmer - DE (ceramics, sculpture) pdf
Cross stitch ninja - SE (embroidery) pdf
Jn. Ulrick Désert - USA/DE (ink drawing) pdf
Johanna Schweizer - NL (fiber sculpture) pdf
Kathrin Schädlich - PT (painting, collage) pdf
Mumbleboy / Kinya Hanada - USA (collage) pdf
René Schmalschläger - NL (photography) pdf
Sharon Pazner - IL (papershaping) pdf






 













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Strich & Faden - Heimat, Folk-art and Travesty, Part II

May 1 - June 20, 2009 at Kunstraum Richard Sorge

In 2008, Kunstraum Richard Sorge initiated an ongoing series of large international confrontational Arts & Crafts and fake folk exhibitions, the second of which takes place May, 2009. The exhibition project offers subversive travesties of craft and folklore, crafty travesties of high art, and works that thematize Heimat (heritage, homeland), gender roles & identity.

The new edition of Strich und Faden presents work by outstanding US-american craft-inspired artists - some of which are shown in Germany (or Europe) for the first time - and presents them alongside their (Eastern) European colleagues. Strich und Faden II goes beyond ironic crafting however, also incorporating conceptual and neo-traditional works on folklore, personal mythology and regionalism.

In areas affected by the postmodern Zeitgeist, nationalism is giving way to tribalism, and each tribe is very busy with their roots, re-evaluating their folklore. Craft is an expression of folklore, and appears as a harmless expression, yet, viewed as vehicle of ethnocentrism, tribalism, and traditional, patriarchal moral values it is not quite so innocent.

The authoritarian aspect to folklore makes claims to great authenticity, yet it is often fake. For instance, there is the "kitschy mercantilization of regional culture and superstition," and, more dangerously, the way religious fundamentalism wants to give its intolerant reactionary politics the uncriticizable religiously-validated veneer of tradition.

Adopting a process of travesty - that sometimes ends in full earnest identification - many artists in the show are able to critically explore craft from within to comment on "resurgent regionalism," war, gender roles, politics and disaster. While this may seem like a novel contemporary postmodern thing, to many curators of academic craft shows at least, it is good to remember how extreme historic crafts can be.

 

preview Estonian artist Peeter Allik's masterful lithos and linocuts explore Europe's traditional values, history of murderous ideologies and not quite so innocent folklore. The work is traditional in appearance, refreshingly sarcastic in tone.

 

preview Cologne based Japanese textile craft expert/curator/restorer Walter Bruno Brix is also active as artist, and has created an extensive body of work in embroidery/applique, in which he uses art historical, often religious, themes.

 

preview preview Adopting traditional genre painting, like landscape and horse painting, without the usual tongue-in-cheek attitude of postmodernism, German painter Ulrich Diezmann explores their value, and skillfully invests these types of painting with a contemporary sensibility.

 

preview preview In his conceptual work group "der Goldene Hans," Berlin painter and curator Rinaldo Hopf makes a journey through German history by appropriating youth culture images from various era, which are silk-screened on corresponding historic fabrics. In a creative process of wistful thinking and empathy, Hopf places his own image as a youth among them.

 

preview Placing kitsch in a new context allows Lithuanian textile craft artist, teacher and curator Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene to reveal her personal experience and point of view. The artist "takes pleasure in things that are only insignificant details to most people". preview Pedestrian concepts of beauty and utilitarian things inspire her and form the basis of such surprising works as her cross stitch embroideries on car parts, "Way of Roses," at once a reminder of the mortal price of mobility, and an exercise in female car tuning. preview Way of Roses fascinates in the way it synthesizes opposite symbols of mobility and homeliness, masculinity and femininity in one object, subverting and transcending such classifications. preview Not only car hoods and doors are embroidered in Severija's work, rusty iron watering cans, cooking utensils and a host of other domestic objects are transformed into poetic and challenging art objects.

 

preview preview Strich & Faden II presents recycled overpainted Hummel collector's plates by Garth Johnson, the California based writer, artist and tireless hyperactive educator known for his "raging craft problem". preview His website, Extreme Craft is a "compendium of art masquerading as craft, craft masquerading as art and craft raising its middle finger". The Hummel plates collection has been selected by Garth Johnson for the show for their interesting relation to German-American history. I.M.Hummel was an artistic nun from Bavaria, whose drawings were made into porcelain figures, and later into plates, by smart manufacturers. preview preview The Hummel cult found its way to the US as the quintessential German gift or souvenir through soldiers stationed in West-Germany. As with other collector's plates Johnson uses, there is a melancholy aspect to them, they speak of forgotten fashions, fancies and sentiments. The artist dissects the plates' morality by inserting his own commentaries and painting into their imagery.

 

preview "Ai Kijima was born and raised in Tokyo, attended high school in Wisconsin, and currently lives in New York City. She tirelessly combs through thrift stores for novelty fabrics and combines them with timeless vintage fabrics. The result is an impeccably crafted narrative that has both humor and depth." - Garth Johnson, Extreme Crafts 2008

 

preview After years toiling as "the oldest promising young artist in the Pacific Northwest," Charles Krafft became known internationally in the 90's for subversive works in clay that were among the first to invest craft objects with serious and sarcastic content starkly contrasting with their perceived image. The way Charles Krafft eschews the usual careerism in the arts and finds alternative ways, is just as radical and political, as is the choice of influences: 60's comix, and the aesthetics and themes of Industrial-, surf- and custom car cultures.

preview Charles Krafft uses and undermines the ethnocentrism and traditionalism of craft objects to comment on "resurgent regionalism", war, politics and disaster. An extended working visit to the Balkans in the early 90's inspired the ongoing Porcelain War Museum Project, in which Krafft makes Delft style replicas of "life-size ceramic weaponry so gorgeous and patently functionless that it will bedazzle and confound everyone who sees it". The series features delicately painted porcelain hand grenades, AK 47s, Kalashnikovs, and Tommy guns. preview The theme of war is also taken up in Krafft's "Dresden 1945" Desasterware plate, and in current work in salt dough and porcelain that specifically targets Germany's historic role as aggressor and its ongoing quest for forgiveness.

 

preview preview Nava Lubelski is known for her witty, stylistically elaborate feminist parodies of the classic drip painting, in which she plays with the contrast between male/female and action/reflection. Lubelski invites us to reflect on the cultural meaning of the stain and mending, and woman's relation to it.

 

preview Berlin based painter Natasza Niedziolka takes the bold designs and bright patterns of Eastern European folklore as the basis of her compositions and faux-primitive wooden sculptures, the Peacock Towers. The incongruous coupling of traditional naif colors and compositions with punk painterly execution and sensibility adds up to vibrant and surprising work.

 

preview Blending folklore with personal narrative, New York City based conceptual artist David Rios Ferreira's drawings and videos "explore the construction and deconstruction of self, drawing upon the hybridity of culture, ethnicity, language and sexuality".
While Walter Bruno Brix's work takes on the traditional genre painting of the Flagellation of Christ, David Rios Ferreira's work "It takes a village" echoes the "Stations of the Cross" genre. However, the artist executes it in a way a queer Disney might have, bending the artistic device into a creation myth featuring God as a cute, self-sufficient bear leisurely creating Himself a new world.
Folklore always is the binding dogma of the tribe. David Rios Ferreira breaks this rule and makes folklore personal, maybe pointing out along the way how collectivist fantasies may have simple, personal beginnings. Or is he fantastically articulating the folklore of alternative life styles, as they are busy formulating and cementing their own traditions? At the very least, his poetically articulated references to current political themes like the definition of family, along with trans-gender and trans-species allusions, prove that despite the rarified image of personal mythology, David Rios Ferreira's work is actually highly aware and expressive of current life, politics and fashions.

 

preview In its Fan Scarf Remix Project, taking place both on- and offline, the Schalalala Knitting Circle synthesizes many artistic techniques, disciplines and activities: Geek Crafting, Net-art, real life knitting circles. It takes as its starting point one of the ultimate expressions of urban tribalism: The hooligan fan scarf, and turns its sectarian aspect into a positive cosmopolitan multicultural statement. The Netzwerk scarf by the Schalalala Knitting Circle refers to the current cultural obsession with networking. From XING to Facebook, networking as a metaphor and promise is currently the main theme of the digital world. As an example of digital tribalism, it has something folkloristic, a bit like a contemporary virtual incarnation of the knitting circle.  

preview Johanna Schweizer (Netherlands) is often - lazily - described as the Dutch Louise Bourgeois. This may refer to the surrealist aspects of her work; her perseverance and consistent vision; or the long time it took for the world to catch up with her work. preview preview The artist's extensive collection of crocheted fiber sculptures is both profound and witty, it alludes to a wide array of themes, from cross-genderness and cross-speciesness; to religious suffering and sexual ritual. Folkloric, pagan, and fairy tale elements are incorporated as well, the sensually playful and the deadly serious going hand in hand.

 

preview Paper shaper/cutter Hunter Stabler (USA) creates delicate multi-layered hand-cut paper compositions of elaborate patterning and religious/mythological symbols. His work involves a formal play between the illusion of space, actual physical shadow, and the flat two-dimensions of the paper.

 

preview While most Street-artists are obsessed with appearing "urban" and in rehashing the same old hip hop cultural "urban" themes end up looking quite suburban, Sztuka Fabryka (BE) brilliantly breaks through the restrictive and tired ideology of Street-art by going rural, introducing traditional, regionalist, folkloristic and even religious themes and designs.
Sztuka Fabryka's Folk-art inspired Urban Shrines are a participatory part of the exhibition. The artist's DIY Shrines can be assembled and customized by the audience.
preview The needlework-inspired "Lappekes" reflect on our prejudices towards "our grandparent's creative expressions now looked upon as old fashioned" and reintroduce their strong designs in contemporary contexts like Fine-art and Street art.

 

In their Ceramixed Plates, Tulip Enterprises (NL/DE) take vintage porcelain plates as their canvas, overpainting them with sexual or political imagery.

 

preview The Strich und Faden exhibition presents a set of Berlin based painter Georg Weise's paintings that occupy a special place within his oeuvre. While the exhibition's theme of travesty applies well to all of Weise's paintings with their faux-historic appearance, in the set presented at Strich & Faden, Part II, the affinity goes further, also incorporating the subjects of Heimat and Folk-art.
In these works, the painter collects old flea market paintings - so called "Heimatbilder" portraying the beauty of the German or Middle-European countryside - and over paints them with his current subject: romantic depictions of graceful teenage boys. The sense of irony introduced in these paintings works both ways: not only targeting the old paintings, whose style is masterfully appropriated in a way that an artist like Banksky could never manage, but also seemingly mocking the artists own romantic stance, adding a refreshing layer of self-reflection and intellectual distance.
And, as with many works in the show, what may have started out as an ironic appropriation of kitsch and traditional techniques, themes and styles, takes a seriously obsessive turn: In what may be a search for painterly perfection, an emotional inability to set the works free, or a perfect symbol for the pains of love, Weise typically keeps on reworking the paintings endlessly, not only covering the works with new layers of paint, but also adding thick layers of semen-like wax or aggressively sanding or burning surface and frame.

 




Strich & Faden - Heimat, Folk-art and Travesty, Part I

The German word "Strich" means the stroke in a painting (or a site for street prostitution). The folksy expression "nach Strich und Faden" however, means to do something thoroughly, with great artistry and precision, or according to the rules of an art or craft. In contemporary German it has gained connotations of trickery, deceit and travesty. It has its origin in the craft of weaving, where it was used when testing the cloth's quality.

Travesty (in the sense of deceit and role playing) is a device used in many works in this show, either as an artistic attitude, or as a subject matter. It is often - but not exclusively - used by gay or woman artists to subvert the traditions of Art & Crafts. While often humorous, works like these nonetheless make serious and inspired statements about gender, identity, regionalism and sexuality.


In one way phenomena like folklore and "Heimat" (with their problematic political implications) seem to justifiably have no place in a modern world anymore. In another way globalization and the decline of the nation-state furthers a society that is fragmented into tribes. When shared values disappear or don't exist, the subculture one belongs to gains more meaning and gives a sense of belonging. A sense of "Heimat" that's just as open, or possibly more open to political indoctrination and extremism.

preview Ari Versluis' and Ellie Uyttenbroek's "Exactitudes" (a cross between "exact" and "attitude") document the urban tribal dress codes of various typical groups that make up today's almost post-nationalist Dutch society. (Today, the duo is making many world explorations as well, but their seminal work has been produced in such seemingly gray cities like their hometown Rotterdam.)

In their quest for heightened individuality and emancipation from the masses, most persons still end up as part of a distinct category. It is this irony that the Exactitudes lovingly and painstakingly document.

The Exactitudes appropriate the print magazine format, historic anthropological photography, and Bernd & Hilla Becher's systematic architectural studies. Like some other work in the Strich & Faden show, it seems to question the authenticity of identity, suggesting it may be just another thing to be consumed, the result of fashion, peer pressure or ideology. This exhibition presents the photo works as folkloristic studies.

Many photographers portray subcultures somewhat voyeuristically and condescendingly. The Exactitudes have a Warhol-like, egalitarian philosophy, proving that subcultures are to be found everywhere, high or low in society. They don't present the often found view of a mainstream majority appraising strange subcultural figures, but turn the tables, and present mainstream figures as just another kind of freak themselves.


preview In Jn. Ulrick Désert's art projects, a highly personal and original discourse about tradition, identity and Heimat takes place.

Born in Haiti, the New York artist has spent much time in Europe and specifically Germany within the last 10 years.

The artist started his "Negerhosen2000" project, questioning assumptions of cultural ownership, race and authenticity in the perceptions of Europeans today. It is a project about the body and tourism in the forms of travel performance, objects, photographs and installations in various cities.

For Strich und Faden, Désert has extended aspects of the issues and fantasies revealed in the Negerhosen2000 artworks. The large mixed media on paper work depicts the artist in the drag he adopted for his "Negerhosen2000" appearances and performances. The untitled painting-by-numbers work deploys a DIY style, and effectively mixes in kitschy collage elements taken from daily (consumer) life. Kunstraum Richard Sorge is also proud to present another new work by Jn. Ulrick Désert, a "Negerhosen2000" special edition.


In her recent project, "Multi-tuned", Berlin-based Club- and Appropriation artist Betty Stürmer depicts the way background influences world view. Day-glo painted paper stripes, depicting the lace curtains in her parent's home, are glued on over-painted newspapers, showing the abstracted, but still recognizable imagery of the big wide world.

preview Thematically connected, Stürmer's large sculptures made out of over painted newspapers, called "Zeitshirts", occupy themselves with the fluidity of identities, the travesty of class, and posing. In works like "Fake Bourgeois", or "Führungskraft" the artist refers to the way drag offers a temporarily escape for members of different social classes. Not only do many people dress above their class, temporarily dressing down offers relief from a life of riches as well. "Fake Bourgeois" is biographical as it is inspired by a period in the artist's biography during which she was obliged to behave and appear according to the rules of high society. The work is decorated with elements like ornamentation and tools, the color is an aristocratic blue instead of worker's blue.

In an exercise in globalized art production, Stürmer commissioned folk artists from Peru to produce ceramic DJ Equipment. Her "Sound Küche" (Sound Kitchen) consists of lovingly yet sloppily made tiny record player, speakers, mixer etc. They are highly deceptive faux-naive artifacts, that refute our assumptions of the subjects of Folk-art.


At first glance Astrid Küver's work might seem fragmented until one learns that much of it is inspired by recycling the discarded vintage homely materials she finds at flea markets or is given by friends.

preview The artist's hand-knitted works from the "AK Bildausschnitt" series - a large and growing work group started in 2000 - are highly genital. Initially knitting more female oriented shapes, the artist increasingly depicts hermafroditic ones.

preview Küver shares with Johanna Schweizer an interest in bodily deformation and with Betty Stürmer an Appropriation-art interest. Küver takes the heroic high art posture of Fontana and reshapes it in a feminine, yet even more in-your-face sexually aggressive way. The way design, material and theme interact remains interesting and hilarious with each new piece.

preview Küver's works often evoke a sense of domesticity, that even remains present in the many outdoor scenes of her melancholy "Second Hand Holidays" travel painting series. Maybe it's because these ambitious conceptual "Heimatbilder" were painted after a personal slide collection, meant for home enjoyment. They document the holidays of a German person in the 50's through 70's, a pre-globalization era in which assumptions about region were very different from now.


Jerusalem-based artist Sharon Pazner's background is in architecture. The methods and spacial thinking of that male-dominated trade are used by her in meticulously precise paper cuttings, that have a superbly-styled austere appearance reminiscent of Constructivism. Contemporary Israeli political issues find their way into Pazner's work, but also symbolic and typographical themes.

Paper cutting has been a widely used Jewish art form since the Middle Ages with strong religious connotations. Academic writer Jayne Kravetz Guberman has demonstrated (1) "how, in response to trends such as feminism and individualism, contemporary papercutters have transformed tradition through innovative approaches to Jewish iconography and the creation of new and re-worked genres. Far from being a marginal phenomenon, such revivals constitute a primary strategy by which modern communities relate to and transmit a notion of heritage, by reclaiming selected aspects of the expressive culture of the past and reshaping them according to contemporary priorities".

The models Pazner made during her training as an architect - using a single folded piece of cardboard - allowed her to create stable designs quickly, using very little glue. The opposing process of undoing three-dimensional shapes also caught her imagination, and she has since followed both directions in her work. It is these two seemingly conflicting processes that these works seek to capture and suspend in an integrated whole.

Leaving the three-dimensional shapes or objects attached to the paper while exposing their cut-out origins suggests the co-existence of the finished work together with the process of its creation, something static and something in motion. The fragility of paper is an essential element of this dynamic, a delicate material further weakened by cutting while strengthened by shaping.

preview The exhibited work by Sharon Pazner, titled "Happy End", brings to mind the way the Berlin Wall area is gradually reclaimed by city buildings. A brilliant conceptual work, it constitutes an Utopian action, folding a wall into a spiral and placing a house, composed of two parts originally on the two opposing sections of the wall, on its route.


preview In his photo "Hollands Glorie", Rotterdam-based Photographer René Schmalschläger also refers to divisionism. The photo alludes to changing definitions of national citizenship in response to immigration, and the growing social disintegration in the Netherlands.

In what seems to be a solemn work, much travesty is present. The image appears to be a parody of the highly coded "Staged Photo Events" so diligently produced by terrorists. In it, common Dutch cliché views of immigrants and natives are subverted. Frau Antje seems to have aquired an immigrant background, the terrorists appear to be typical Dutch cheese-heads. The photo may well hint at Dutch fears of tribal unrest and Balkanization. The artist views the work as a comment on Dutch negativity and its Big Brother politics. In the exhibition it is accompanied by leaflets reminding the viewer of classic, positive views of society.


Like many of their Japanese artist colleagues, Mumbreeze / Kinya and Kao Hanada (Portland, Oregon, USA) achieve a kind of hip traditionalism in their art, full of wild inventiveness.

The break with tradition, that typifies the western Modern Art tradition, just doesn't seem to be there for many Japanese artists. (Some may argue, Modernism and Pop-art have a much longer history in Japanese art anyway, in the shape of Ukyo-e for example.) It may be this conversation with tradition that allows Japanese artists like the Mumbreeze duo to use a rich and stunning vocabulary, which is able to compete with any modern mainstream media around, and with any means necessary.

Kinya Hanada (aka Mumbleboy) is known for his bright digital work, "old school flash animation", and hand made textile dolls of the 90's, and Kao Hanada has a background in Manga. Both are now increasingly making stunning use of crafty techniques, like faux-handmade collages and crafty papier-mâché sculptures which they present in colorful "lowbrow" installations.

preview Kinya Hanada's recent collages are made in self-imposed stretches of daily productivity, and directly published online, one piece a day. They depict seemingly monumental, shrine-like iconic figures, reminiscent of Asian deities, superheroes or giant toy robots. In their strict digital symmetry and posture, the totemic mirrored figures are sometimes reminiscent of those by Gilbert & George. The collages make use of personal travel and pop culture photos, drawings and paper cutting. Entirely made in Photoshop, they fool the spectator with their crafty appearance of hand made collages: paper structure, relief, shadows and scissor cutting traces.

This work is highly ambiguous: traditional yet futuristic, seemingly naive yet highly informed, personal yet fashionable, sweet but sticky, childishly playful yet made with a very mature dedication.

The papier-mâché sculptures by Mumbreeze, from a set called "Spirits", are noted to resemble Japanese religious icons like the pre-Buddhist Haniwa funeral figures from ancient Japan. Haniwa imagery has found its way into pop culture, notably Manga. While citing the traditions of chimera and Haniwa, these sculptures also allude to modern themes like comics, pop culture and genetic engineering.


preview Johanna Schweizer (Breda, Netherlands) is often - lazily - described as the Dutch Louise Bourgeois. This may refer to the surrealist aspects of her work; her perseverance and consistent vision; or the long time it took for the world to catch up with her work.

preview After impressive presentations at Brutto Gusto fine_arts (Berlin), and her recent participation in the "Just Different" Queer-art exhibition in the Amsterdam Cobra Museum, the interest in Schweizer's oeuvre is now steadily growing.

The artist's extensive collection of crocheted fiber sculptures are made in the last six years. Both profound and witty, it has a wholly un-academic rootedness in contemporary life, alluding to a wide array of themes, from cross-genderness and cross-speciesness; to religious suffering and sexual ritual. Folkloric, mythological and Pagan elements are incorporated, the sensually playful and the deadly serious going hand in hand.

The artist has a fascination for deformity and otherness, but leaves out the voyeurism. The colorful sculptures offer a perceptive, amused female view of male sexuality and chauvinism that is arguably unique in contemporary art.

There may be a stronger religious aspect to Schweizer's work than may be assumed at first glance. The religious concept of the human body as a temporary vessel, occupied with suffering and lust comes to mind. But whereas much art is of the reductionist, Calvinist persuasion, Johanna Schweizer's work has an abundant, Catholic air.


preview As a student at Bremen Academy of Art, Kathrin Schädlich (Portugal) admired the work of Pieter Breugel, Lukas Cranach, El Greco and other such classic artists.

preview Schädlich's motives are inspired by a wide variety of sources. Items from different worlds come together and tell a story which is not clear and defined. Figures of old masters appear as bit parts or leading actors for weird events, creating a puzzling atmosphere. Their evocative titles hint at morality and ideas of propriety imposed on woman.

Only dress, class, occupation and poses are left visible of the woman in these paintings, their individuality seems erased.


preview Exquisite examples of the current wave of Craftivism and subversive cross-stitching and embroidery can be found in young Swedish artist Cross stitch ninja's work.

Quite prolific, Cross stitch ninja is known for investing these traditional crafty media with new uncommon subjects and references, such as riots, female aggression, computer games, - and even poo.
As in traditional Folk-art, local occurrences, like the attack on a squat by police, find their way into Cross stitch ninja's work. A homey reference to Warhol's riot paintings can be found in "the Youth House".

Radical Crafting is a post-modern and ironically feminist movement that may share more of its attitudes with the Open Source community than with the traditional art scene, whose values are being subverted, after all, by such willfully noncommercial activities like sharing, swapping or gifting both the art ánd the designs for it.

Akin to young artists like Mumbreeze or Jeremiah Palecek, the Internet plays a big role for Craftivists, in distributing, marketing, sharing and communicating ideas and products, it is no longer an isolated occupation.

  While earlier feminist artists raged against domesticity, artists like Astrid Küver and Cross stitch ninja take a more relaxed position, clearly demonstrating their love of the material and the manual occupation. In a kind of reverse rebellion, contemporary crafters are embracing and celebrating the domestic arts as relevant, viable and creative work, and shaping micro economies and political networks around it (2).



Notes:
(1) Transformations of a traditional folk art: The revival of Jewish papercutting - Jayne Kravetz Guberman, University of Pennsylvania
(2) Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and media




 


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