THE WORK OF internationally-acclaimed artists Yuriko Damiani, Florence Vacher and Tania Welz, will be shown for the first time in Greece in an exhibition at Athens’ Domus Art Gallery, entitled ‘Waves of Weaving’. The contemporary art practice of these artists takes from the ancient traditions of weaving and ceramics, in order to create impelling artworks with unique aesthetics. Running March 10-April 10, ‘Waves of Weaving’ brings to light the innovative ways in which such traditional art forms have witnessed a rennaissance of sorts in contemporary art history. A percentage of the sales proceeds will be going to the organisation WeWorld, in order to provide aid in the Ukraine.
It is believed that humans have been making textiles for 27,000 years, while early ceramics date back to around 24,000 years ago. These ancient crafts however, have been adopted by contemporary artists who have transformed them entirely, from a craft, to a pioneering art form, as evident also in ‘Waves of Weaving’.
The history of textile art is a fascinating one. From the medieval and rennaissance tapestries, to the pioneering 20th century textile artists such as Faith Ringgold, Anni Albers, and Magdalena Abakanowicz, and contemporary textile artists such as Sheila Hicks, Allighierro e Boetti, and Faig Ahmed. Textile art, which is gaining all the more ground in recent years, has often been explored by female artists and has also been associated with feminist art. After all, across the centuries, it was mostly women who created textiles, and still do, in many countries, including Greece. Weaving, crotcheting, sewing and knitting, were for centuries the ‘accepted’ art form for generations of women. But don’t expect to see anything traditional at Domus Art Gallery, where the contemporary perspective on weaving takes it to new heights.
Inspired by the repetitive wave-like motions of the hand as it traverseses surfaces when sewing, weaving, or creating and painting ceramics ‘Waves of Weaving’ presents a plethora of materials (e.g. mother of pearl, ancient japanese gold, fabrics, fibres, cotton, velvet, silk, jute), and how they can be ingeniously incorporated into contemporary art and artefacts.
Fabrics are sewn, seamed, embroidered, combined with the art of assemblage, ripped and cut by Tania Welz and Florence Vacher, while Yuriko Damiani blends East and West in her elaborate porcelain designs.
‘Waves of Weaving’ is about women, traditions, challenges and innovation. It is also an example of how with a pioneering frame of mind, these ‘female traditions’ now play an important role in today’s contemporary art world.
Μeet the artists
Yuriko Damiani: With a Japanese mother and Italian father, Yuriko Damiani draws inspiration from her own cultural roots in order to create enchanting paintings on porcelain objects which have been obtained from trusted, quality manufacturers. She looks both East, to the japanese aesthetics of the ‘Rising Sun’, and West, incorporating other contemporary elements into her designs. This mix of occidental and oriental aspects in her work, gives it its unique character which is instantly recognizable. “My works express my life and my personality”, explains the artist.
For ‘Waves of Weaving’, Yuriko is presenting a series which is inspired by the ‘Major Arcana’ of the tarot, and which uses materials such as ancient japanese gold, mother of pearl and silver. “I love to explore new themes that I would never have chosen alone”, explains Yuriko. “This theme was proposed to me… I liked it immediately! It changed my art and introduced me to the fascinating world of symbolism”, she adds.
Yuriko is the inventor of the ‘Japanese Antique Gold with Under Gold’ technique; She has been invited to share this technique via demonstrations and seminars throughout Italy. “With this technique I create bronze drawings under the Japanese gold and for this part of the process alone, the works are fired three times at 780 degrees Celsius. All my works are fired from 4-8 times… porcelain is a slow art”, explains Yuriko.
Florence Vacher: When the artists of the West (such as Picasso and Braque), discovered African art, it changed the course of western art’s history. African art continues to attract many an artist’s attention, with its unique aesthetics and alternative concept of ‘perspective’. Florence Vacher is one such artist, who has been deeply inspired by African art. Born in Paris but a resident of New York since 1998, Florence Vacher chose the art of weaving to recontextualize the ceremonial objects of African Art, giving them a new two-dimensionality, via her fabric-based art process which uses sewing, embroidery and patchwork.
Inspired by the iconic African sculptures used in religious rituals, Florence transforms their time/place context, giving them a totally new make-over, yet at the same time managing to explore their powerful visual impact. Her large-scale and vividly coloured works emanate a primordial dynamism. Her hands manipulate different textiles, intervene with embroidery, stitching and a whole host of other types of needlework, in order to tranform the appearance of the African art objects, beautifying the shapes and allowing herself to add new volumes to them, playing also with the shadows and lights of photography.
Florence spent several decades studying and admiring these African objects, observing the way occidental artists, curators, collectors and art dealers have dealt with them. Florence explains her own approach: “In my work, it all begins with a photograph – of an African mask or sculptural figure, usually. From there, I identify striking characteristics to highlight through the medium of fabric. I play with a variety of colors, textures, and spatial relations that place my work somewhere between the two-dimensionality of photography and the three-dimensionality of sculpture. I’m interested in how photography changes our perception of objects, and I like to further transform those objects by presenting them in yet another medium. In this body of work I flatten their volumes, give them emotive human expression, and place them in relatable surroundings.”
Tania Welz: The aim of Tania Welz’s art is an innovative reworking of textile fibers, transforming their appearance and their nature entirely. Working primarily with used fabrics, destined to be recycled, Tania interconnects them with other fabrics, through cuts, assemblages, burns and paddings, creating in the end high-impact chromatic artworks that explore the nature of matter.
Tania Welz presents in her works a dynamic and visually evocative transformation of matter, thanks to her synthesis of poor materials, such as recycled jute, with precious fabrics and scraps such as silk, gold and brocade.
One could even go so far as to say that Tania has a bit of a ‘Midas touch’ in her art process, transforming fabrics even into metal. She explains how this is done in a previous series, entitled ‘Chrysopoeia/tableau’: “Whilst undergoing radical changes in its characteristics, through a sophisticated chemical process that ‘transmutes’ fiber into metal, fabric goes from being fragile and malleable to solid and hard, from matte to shiny, yet its original weave remains intact! This engages my mind in reflection on what is permanent in life, what lasts, despite being immersed in an ever-changing cycle of transformations. ‘Chrysopoeia’, the title of the series, was borrowed from a term of alchemy which means transmutation into gold.”
In the ‘Waves of Weaving’ exhibition, Tania is presenting works that focus more on “the combination of ‘poor’ textiles with ‘rich’ ones . The contrast of those two textiles give the works power and strength,” explains the artist. Through the juxtaposition of poor materials with rich fabrics or precious inserts, the artist offers a perspective on the dynamic and visually evocative transformation of matter.
Domus art gallery’s innovative vision
Domus Art Gallery is an exhibition space directed by the gallerist Glenda Lorenzani, who, a few weeks after moving from Rome to Athens in 2014, decided to realise this innovative contemporary art project. Domus Art Gallery welcomes monthly meetings dedicaded to artists, friends, collectors, art lovers, curious minds and whoever is interested in creativity. During these years, the gallery has hosted exhibitions of works by many artists, mainly from Greece and Italy, thus bonding the cultural and artistic ties between these two countries, which, let’s face it, have much in common! For example, last year’s exhibition ‘Matter in Motion’, brought together the work of Petr Shevchenko, Nikos Mikroulis, Vittoria Panunzi and Luisa Valleriani, creating a unique mix of cultural influences and artistic styles.
- ‘Waves of Weaving’ is curated by Glenda Lorenzani, and runs March 10-April 10, 2022. Opening on March 10, 6pm-midnight. Entrance to the exhibition is strictly in accordance with the anti-Covid 19 security measures.
- By appointment only. (Please call +30 690-7477997 to book your appointment).
- In compliance with the government’s anti-Covid19 measures, the use of a mask and the necessity of keeping a safety distance of at least 1m are mandatory. Hand sanitizer gel is available at the entry of the gallery. Gatherings are prohibited.
- Free entrance
- For more info: +30 690 747 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Artists’ info/links:
- ‘Art Scene Athens’ is written and run by artist/journalist Stella Sevastopoulos, who has been covering the Greek art scene since she moved from London to Athens in 1994. For examples of her artwork, you may visit her online portfolio.