Semi-Esoteric Textiles in Helsinki

The Selkie : Finland

A collaborative installation of Textiles by Imogen Di Sapia & Ceramics by Elaine Bolt

Lokal + Helsinki, 23.02 – 03.03.2019

Translated from the Finnish blog “Art & Life”

Written & Curated by Maija Kasvinen

“I started to think about Imogen’s exhibition…

It is a tiring idea that the undervalued position of textiles is somehow linked to the fact that it has traditionally been perceived as the “laundry heap”.

However, much was discussed with Imogen. She said that when she became a mother, she really understood why women have always made textile art: textile is a safe material. When you can’t afford to put your child in day care and live days in symbiosis with the baby, weaving does not require exiting from home. Nor can it hurt the baby – textile is not toxic in the same way as paint or solvents.

Imogen spoke a lot about the ethics of the wool-chain: her wool comes from a vegan activist with a sheep rescue farm, saving sheep from markets and keeping them at home. Brighton has a strong vegan culture, and buyers question if the wool came from slaughtered sheep. In addition, the coloring of the wool was something semi-esoteric, associated with avocado stones and silk slubs.

It was a good feeling when I walked into the gallery and I saw the works, taking time to look. There’s something so modest to put a sandy blanket on the wall, a few clay tiles on the table, and one more blanket on the window sill. In the background, classical church music was playing. It really does not force attention to itself.

Perhaps this is where the textile art of the past few years has been silenced. While modernist painting is masculine in form and discourse, textile art is feminine, respectively. It is somehow humble, associated with home and private. At least in this show. The blanket is actually somehow maternal, or at least feminine: it can be curled in a different way than painting or sculpture.”


Original Finnish text and article appears here;

Maija Kasvinen 2019

Original photography by Michaela Meadow 2018

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