Soft pink silicon sacks, linked together with hairy cords, squirm subtly. The movement intensifies, when one comes closer. Awkward feelings arise when you see this work by Bart Hess. It is an intense physical experience, that comes with a little discomfort, but at the same time fascinates immensely. Bart Hess is one of the artists that got commissioned by the TextielMuseum to develop new work. All works are balancing between attraction and repulsion. They seduce you to watch, but also evoke some mixed feelings. The commission policy of the TextielMuseum offers artists and designers the chance to do research and experiment. The results are shown in the exhibition ‘Fringes of Beauty’. This exhibition contains textile installations and interactive sculptures by Heringa/Van Kalsbeek, Bart Hess, Nan Groot Antink, Tanja Smeets and Karin van Dam. The works are all made in the TextielLab, the innovative in-house workplace of the TextielMuseum.
Heringa/Van Kalsbeek (1966/1962) are known for their expressive, colourful sculptures, that have a strong physical presence. For their work at the TextielLab, the artists were inspired by their ethnographic collection and natural phenomena. Their monumental, playful sculpture ‘Armor’ consists of a metal construction, decorated with laser-cutted, resin coated wings of canvas, bright red pompons and multi-coloured tins. The image is derived from the largely decorated head ornaments of traditional Chinese brides. ‘Armor’ is appealing at first sight, but its back appears ‘raw and imperfect’. This tension, between front and back, between attraction and repulsion, is a main theme in the work of Heringa/Van Kalsbeek.
Photo | Part of material worked with by Heringa/Van Kalsbeek for ‘Armor’, shown in the exhibition ‘Fringes of Beauty’
The installations by artist Tanja Smeets (1963) seem to grow along walls and ceilings. The modest white, and sometimes brightly coloured structures, remind you of moulds and mushrooms. Tanja Smeets discovered the possibilities of the laser- and knitting techniques at the TextielLab. With both techniques, she realised her installation ‘Nebula and the Soft Machine’. From industrial felt she cut irregular basic forms, from very small to a larger scale. The elements intertwine and crawl their way up. In the middle, the material seems to explode like a dust-cloud (‘Nebula’). The knitted part of the installation, ‘Soft Machine’, reminds you of a plant, with buds that diffuse randomly. The work leaves the impression it could develop into an infinite landscape.
Photo | Tanja Smeets working in the TextielLab, the result of her work will be presented in the exhibition ‘Fringes of Beauty’.
Bart Hess’ visual inspiratie was the soft pulse of testicles.
Multi-talent Bart Hess (1984) works in the fields of visual arts, (fashion)design and performance. At the TextielLab, he created interactive ‘skins’, that move subtly, reacting on sound and movement of the public. Visual inspiration was the soft pulse of testicles. The installation consists of three pieces that move, twist and fascinate. Bart Hess braided an enormous amount of cords in order to create the basic structure. Together with the product developer, he discovered all new possibilities of braiding. At his own studio, the cords were coated with silicon that either forms a sack or covers the whole as a matt gloss skin.
Photo | detail of Stimulus, the work of Bart Hess, shown in ‘Fringes of Beauty’.
Nan Groot Antink asked all male workers of the museum to hand in their morning urine, so that she could use it to attach the dye strongly to the fabric.
Nan Groot Antink
The emphasis of Nan Groot Antink’s (1954) work lies on dyeing with natural pigments. Since 1990, she has made her own dye from native and foreign plant dyes. She paints with it, using her surroundings as an inspiration for choosing the plants. For this commission, the artist selected eight plant dyes, based on the original vegetation of the museum’s site. The weaving of fabrics with different kind of natural yarns, was a new step in her work. She used urine for the dyeing process, inspired on the story of her grandmother. She told her that the textile workers from Tilburg used to walk through town with their jug of urine. In the past they used the urine for the dyeing process at the textile factories. Therefore, Nan Groot Antink asked all male workers of the museum to hand in their morning urine, so that she could use it to attach the dye strongly to the fabric. The installation, consisting of seven strips of fabric, shows subtle colour shades and raises a serene silence.
Photo | Color research done by Nan Groot Antink in the TextielLab. Her work is shown in ‘Fringes of Beauty’.
Karin van Dam
The sculptures and installations of Karin van Dam (1959) often look like dream-like figures or strange satellites in space. Her building blocks are industrial materials, in combination with PVC and textile. In ‘Fringes of Beauty’ she shows her installation ‘The Polyp Form of the Red Eye Medusa 2’. It is inspired by a seductively beautiful, but very poisonous jellyfish, the Red Eye Medusa. Black, shell-like forms, made out of monofilament, that Karin van Dam developed in the TextielLab, are the core elements of this work. The installation is a pretty, but apocalyptical image that floats through the room and nestles in bars.
On the occasion of the exhibition ‘Fringes of Beauty’ the TextielMuseum will publish a book of the same title by curator Suzan Rüsseler. This publication can be bought for € 12.95 at the TextielShop.