Larsen Warner Gallery – Jonathan Baldock / Bea Bonafini / Yann Gerstberger / Britta Marakatt-Labba / Åsa Norberg & Jennie Sundén / Hana Miletic / Anna Perach / Faith Ringgold – IN STITCHES – 8 October to 21 November 2020 – Open Tuesday to Friday 12-18 Saturday 12-16 – Sturegatan 28, Östermalm, Stockholm, Sweden
ABOUT the exhibition
Larsen Warner is pleased to present In Stitches, a group exhibition presenting a snap shot and acclamation of developments in contemporary textiles, showcasing the many ways in which threads and fabrics are being used by contemporary artists. The exhibition includes work by a cross generational group of International and Scandinavian artists; Jonathan Baldock, Bea Bonafini, Yann Gerstberger, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Hana Miletic, Åsa Norberg & Jennie Sundén and Faith Ringgold.
As boundaries between art and craft are becoming blurred and old prejudices towards gendered associations with materials and practices are being challenged, In Stitches aims to be a timely celebration of textiles, needlepoint, embroidery, tapestry and weaving and will act as a reminder of the vital nature of these mediums beyond the functional or aesthetic. The techniques of textile art present an impressive multiplicity of their own, with each artist manipulating the properties of thread in a myriad of experimental ways. In Stitches presents a diverse group of artists engaged in numerous differing practices. Each of the artists fascination with making and materials may be a common ground, but the work presented reaches far beyond the practical; the medium, though integral, does not supersede the message.
Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980, Kent, UK) works across multiple platforms including sculpture, installation and performance. His work is saturated with humour and wit, as well as an uncanny, macabre quality that channels his longstanding interest in myth, folklore and the narratives associated with ‘outsider’ practices. He has an ongoing interest in the contrast between the material qualities of ceramic and fabric in his work. Concerned with removing the functional aspects of the materials he uses, Baldock instead works in a performative way through his sculptural assemblages, bringing the viewer, the object and the space they simultaneously occupy into question as a theatrical or ritualistic act.
Through the production of colourful and sensuous objects and environments, London-based Italian artist Bea Bonafini (b.1990) explores how images and material can suggest an intimate connection between people. Testing the notion of comfort, her installations and performances operate on the boundary between functionality and the aesthetic. Bonafini stretches familiar forms to make welcoming spaces suddenly feel uneasy, as if one is being consumed by rich decorative surfaces and layers of history. Bonafini is driven to create a kind of ’painting’ that has the versatility to be tactile and sensual; that can be walked on or around; that can be multilingual, speaking the language of domesticity, design, the history of tapestry and fashion. A painting that can be cut, carved, dyed, glued and sewn. The artist explores ways for her work to simultaneously hold a certain familiarity, and an entirely unexpected way of handling and observing materials.
As an artist, activist and children’s author Faith Ringgold (b. 1930, New York) has challenged perceptions of African American identity and gender inequality for over five decades. Influenced by Tibetan fabric art as well as the American quilt tradition, Ringgold combines storytelling and painting to stitch together narratives about black American history and the fight for equal rights. For In Stitches, Ringgold presents an extraordinary early tanka from her Window of the Wedding series. On a visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1972, Ringgold encountered a collection of Tibetan Buddhist Thangkas; paintings on silk that hung from wooden dowels, that acted as inspiration for this important series of early unstretched fabric paintings. Although we feature just one in the exhibition, in total Ringgold created 20 works for the Window of the Wedding all made in 1974, with each one representing the imagined future weddings of her daughters.
The work of Britta Marakatt-Labba (b. 1951, Karesuando, Sweden) oscillates between the verifiable and the mythical. Through intimate embroidery and appliqué Marakatt-Labba creates a convincing composite picture of history that stays etched in our memory, while we are also reminded that this particular history—of her own people—has been kept deliberately invisible. Marakatt-Labba’s themes and her modes of vision connect with Sami reality, but so do her chosen textile techniques: Her work often converges with what in Northern Sami is called duodji (applied art, design). Marakatt-Labba’s embroidered visual stories skillfully combine traditional textile techniques, historic Sami storytelling and contemporary politics. They challenge and expand our perceptions and notions of art and succeed in resurrecting nearly erased memories and offer a critique contemporary life.
Yann Gerstberger’s (b.1983, France) series of textile tapestries depict narratives inspired by patterns found in Mexican popular culture, art history and nature. These works are produced with an original technique conceived by the artist; he glues fibers of cotton (mops, originally) on vinyl to form colorful surfaces, mixed with industrial fabric, preferably patterned or textured that he finds in markets in the city. The cotton fibers are dyed by hand, using a mixture of natural mexican dyes such as cochineal, and industrial ones like Citocol, the most basic dye that can be found in the supermarket. Gerstberger builds through his tapestries/paintings a vernacular vocabulary referencing the Fábulas Pánicas of Jodorowsky, the fantasy of the tropical seen from Europe, postgraffiti and the history of abstraction and its repertoire of ambiguous and mystical shapes.
Though at first glance their design may seem abstract and arbitrary, the textiles of Hana Miletic (b.1982, Croatia) are, in fact, based on photographs that she takes with a small digital camera in the streets of Brussels and Zagreb. They often relate to pictures of damage/breakage in public spaces such as broken car parts (mirrors, headlights, windshields, etc.) or elsewhere in buildings with shattered doors and windows that were mended in creative, improvised ways by their owners, mostly by means of tape. The colours and textures of each fabric are based on the materials that were captured in the photograph. Still mindful of the politics of fabrication, Miletić has used yarn that is layered in terms of provenance and trade, for example using natural dyes such as indigo, the ancient technique that can be traced back to the colonial paths of the silk road. For Miletić, the act of weaving culminates in an effect that is both material and metaphorical, using weaving as a gesture of care and repair, and to reflect on issues of representation and social reproduction.
By creating wearable sculptures from hand-crafted carpets, Anna Perach (b.1985, Ukraine) re-imagines Slavic mythology and its archetypal female characters. By presenting the narratives of these mythological archetypes within a jointly-created transgressive realm, Perach opens up a dialogue around prescient issues around gender politics, ecology and cultural heritage in a poetic, symbolic language. Perach’s work is steeped in rich symbolism and colour, drawing on the language of folklore and the historic tradition of embroidery to engage with ideas of nostalgia, heritage and belonging. They intertwine with her own memories of growing up in Ukraine, and are interlaced with her experiences as woman, artist, mother, and daughter.
With an interest in how aesthetics and design reflect the social reality in which it is produced, the work of Åsa Norberg (b.1977, Sweden) and Jennie Sundén (b. 1977, Sweden) reconstructs and highlights different social phenomena, political ideas, and art history. By combining physical material, aesthetic form and theoretical references their aim is to create new perspectives and views on already existing discourses or narratives with themes connected to language as image and visualization of information. A Brief History of Soft Wear (Software) refers to the history of women as the first so-called Human Computers, programmers, telegraphists and stenographers as well as to the history of textile work. The work is structured as a screen with windows, where signs and symbols connected to code and the visualization of information creates a patchwork of collected data.
ABOUT the artist
Jonathan Baldock / Bea Bonafini / Yann Gerstberger / Britta Marakatt-Labba / Åsa Norberg & Jennie Sundén / Hana Miletic / Anna Perach / Faith Ringgold
ABOUT the gallery
Christian Larsen was founded in 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden. Over the last two decades, the gallery has built a reputation for its dedication to artists and presenting a dynamic and rigorous exhibition programme of both emerging and established artists from Scandinavia and Internationally. Over this time the gallery has fostered close and cooperative relationships with museums and curators in both Scandinavia and worldwide.
The inaugural exhibition in 1996 took place at Christian Larsen’s first gallery, located in the Östermalm district of Stockholm, with work by renowned American artist Sally Mann. Exhibitions with major international and Swedish artists followed including shows by Louise Lawler, Ross Bleckner, William Wegman, Tracey Moffatt, Lynn Davies and Miriam Bäckström’s debut exhibition.
In 2007, Christian Larsen moved to a 3,500 sq. feet location in the Stockholm gallery district on Hudiksvallgatan with an exhibition of work by renowned Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno. Since then, the gallery has continued to forge an ambitious program of exhibitions with both Swedish artists such as Joakim Ojanen, Mårten Medbo, Anton Alvarez, Anna Camner, Karin Broos, Christine Ödlund, Ann-Sofi Sidén, Matti Kallioinen, Charlotte Gyllenhammar and Max Book, and international artists, many of them exhibiting in Sweden for the first time. These include exhibitions by Rose Wylie, Frank Bowling, John Körner, Gavin Turk, Robert Mangold, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sam Samore, Kasper Sonne and Horst P. Horst,
In the summer of 2018 Christian Larsen opened a second space in Falsterbo, Sweden with the group exhibition One Summer Night. This second home for the gallery presents smaller more focused exhibitions at selected times throughout the year and creates an exciting additional outlet for the galleries growing programme.
In September 2019 the gallery relocated to Östermalm near Stockholm city centre. This coincided with an exciting new chapter for the gallery with owner Christian Larsen and director Darren Warner choosing the opening of Sturegatan 28 to foster a closer collaboration, with the gallery name changing to Larsen Warner. http://www.larsenwarner.com/