The not-to-be-missed international contemporary art event, Miniartextil, embracing textile as the artist’s means of expression, is now showcasing in Montrouge, the suburban city of Paris which started its partnership with the event ten years ago. For the Daily Couture, I attended to its opening fresh on the heels of the beginning of last Paris Fashion Week, even though the Miniartextil 10th anniversary edition was regrettably not part of its events calendar. Hadn’t I heard about it from one of a master craftsman working for Haute Couture who warmly advised me to go to the event, I would not have known about it. I bet the likes of trend-setters and art lovers gathered in Paris for the Fashion Week would have certainly feel overjoyed at the many eye-catching textile inspired monumental installations.
The one-of-the-kind itinerary exhibition runs until March 23th 2014, in partnership with other art sites such as The Maison de la culture du Japon in Paris and seven other galleries, before reaching its new venue, Caudry, the commune in northern France famed for its lacemaking tradition used by Haute Couture fashion houses. It’s Caudry’s master craftsmen in lacemaking by French company Sophie Halette Kate Middleton chose to trust for her wedding dress… Recently, Solstiss, another French lacemaking company was in the limelight as the Academy Award for Best Costume Design at the Oscars was granted to Catherine Martin who worked with the French company on The Great Gatsby film.
Heralding the process of research in art textile or fiber art
Minartextil was initiated by Arte&Arte in 1991, by Nazzarena Bortolaso and Mimmo Totaro, art collectors, living in the Italian city of Como renowned for the quality of its silk and textile industry. Both of them are textile artists, which explains why the mini format artworks (20 X 20 X 20 cm) are the main focus of Miniartextil.
Mimmo Totaro was used to creating such small art textile pieces as an artist indeed who once sent the expected preparatory mini-format works requested as part of the application process in order to exhibit, in 1981, at the International Centre of Ancient and Modern Tapestry (ICAMT), known in French as CITAM (Centre international de la Tapisserie Ancienne et Moderne). Even though her preparatory work was not selected at the time, she did find them quite interesting and stunning. They should not be left unseen, she thought then. Having the opportunity to exhibit such small preparatory works was the reason why both artists founded an association and chose to name it Miniartextil.
Nazzarena Bortolaso and Mimmo Totaro have been setting their hearts on organizing and developing the art event for 23 years in Como, and for 10 years in Montrouge, and Caudry now on. Today the annual itinerary exhibition is likely to grow given the interested in fiber art worldwide. Using textile, Mimmo Totaro explains, makes it easier to create monumental installations while the highly innovating textile industry makes it a fascinating field for artists to explore with brand new fibers, and traditional or natural fibers being revisited.
I would like to give light to three monumental installations I‘ve found most arresting by their strength and aesthetic experience they provided the viewer with.
Cage, 2013, Manuel Ameztoy
The entrance to the main room at the venue, Le Beffroi, is literally crafted by Manuel Ameztoy’s enchanting artwork, Cage, with this ethereal “stream of fabric” floods suspended from the ceiling as if some kind of luxurious wilderness was invading the urban site. The plain red unwoven low key fabric finally has been ennoblished into what finally looks like a wide range of reddish eyelet embroidery with mystery stemming from the subtle red lighting design. The artwork was inspired by Plato’s Sympisium Eros evoked as the child of Poros (abundance) and Penia (poverty).
On the left are two other aesthetically awesome artworks presented side by side echoing both the visually symmetry and repetition they contain in them.
Lure Series, 2013, Beliu Liu
Multidisciplinary artist Beliu Liu’s Lure Series has this mesmerizing quality to it, embarking the viewer in a contemplating journey with this site-responsive installation made out of thousands of threads, sewing needles and hand coiled red thread disks suspended from the ceiling by piercing a sewing needle in the centre of each coil. The poppy field like installation made of of thread disks have a life of their own as they move freely along the movement of the air making it look like a visual symphony. The enchanting atmosphere stemming from the installation is explained by its inspiration from the ancient Chinese legend of the “Red Thread”: when children are born, invisible red threads connect them to the ones whom they are fated to be with. They will come closer to each other eventually, meet one another, bypassing cultural and social divides.
Life, 2002, Keiichi Nagasawa
The birth and death of a human being is Keiichi Nagasawa’s subject as he explores the metaphor of the tread, the red yarn for birth and the black one for death. However all imprisoned in the ground the bodies may seem, as if they were gravestones, the overall series of transparent bodies exudes this enchanting hymn to the complexity of life bound to lead to death.
430 works were sent from 43 nations competing for the event renowned for displaying more than 50 mini artworks. Miniartextil is the must go event for all of us ready for a mind-expanding experience about what can be created given the wide range of textile practices displayed.
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