Publication accompanying the research and exhibition project

One essential characteristic of textiles is their richly intertextual nature. Their contemporary appeal and historicity derive from their place in the history of art and culture as well as in the history of media, society, and technology; they represent traditions of applied as well as fine art, hovering between formalism and functionalism, and as objects and techniques, they mediate between relations to the self and relations to the world, between affect-driven and knowledge driven processes of appropriation. Functionally versatile—they are objects of utility as well as media of an abstract (visual) language—textiles, read as the fulcrum of an ensemble of activities, illustrate specific entanglements that, since the dawn of modernity, have increasingly transformed the relations between subject and object, material and immaterial, artistic and artisanal labor and relationships of cultural exchange.

Based on these considerations, the publication examines the richly referential as well as analytical qualities of the textile medium through contemporary as well as historic works. The contributions reflect on the complex interplay between the various functions and connotations of textiles—such as the emphasis on their haptic and tactile qualities or the artistic value attributed to them—and the attendant conflicts and antagonisms, which articulate both relations of power and value and the involvement of artistic processes in overarching contexts of action and vice versa.

A standalone format, the publication is part of a series of conferences, seminars, workshops, and exhibitions in the framework of the long term exhibition and research project Textiles: Open Letter; in addition to the interconnection between the works, it focuses on the exhibition history of textiles. For further info see:  www.textilesopenletter.info

Ed. Rike Frank, Grant Watson in collaboration with Sabine Folie, Georgia Holz, and Susanne Titz for Generali Foundation, Vienna and Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach
With contributions by Elissa Auther, Sabeth Buchmann, Rike Frank, Florian Pumhösl, Judith Raum, Seth Siegelaub, T’ai Smith, Georg Vasold, Leire Vergara, and Grant Watson
Engl,/Germ., 312 pages, numerous color- and b&w-illustrations, Hardcover
Publisher Sternberg Press, Berlin
Date of publication April 2015

Textiles: Open Letter and
Textile Theorien der Moderne. Alois Riegl in der Kunstkritik

Joint book launch

Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 7 pm
On the occasion of the exhibition opening of Katrin Mayer
European Kunsthalle hosted by Chambre d´amis
Academy of Fine Arts
Atelierhaus (ehem. Semperdepot), 1st Floor
Léhargasse 6-8
1060 Vienna

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