#ThrowbackThursday: Art at Techtextil

For this year’s Techtextil, artist Deidi von Schaewen and the online research platform, ‘Architonic’, which specialises in architecture and design, had organised the ‘Textiled Spaces’ exhibition, displaying photographs of textile-swathed objects and buildings from all over the world. Time to reveal a few memories.

“I find swathed objects uncommonly exciting, in the way they play with the beholder’s expectations,” explained international architectural photographer von Schaewen, during the private view for the exhibition. “Precisely at the present time, when virtually everything is visible on the internet at any time, there is a fascinating disjunction in the experience of looking at swathed objects which amounts to an invitation to linger and reflect, since the hidden object offers room for imagination and interpretation,” says the artist, who now lives in Paris. Her photos of wrapped objects and buildings stretch back into the 1960s and have already been reprinted in magazines such as “art”, “Elle Decoration” and “Architecture d’Aujourd’hui”. But isn’t the idea of organising an exhibition of ‘fine art’ at a trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens a bit off-beam, so to speak: a bit off-kilter?

Unusual image: for this 'solo image with lady', the photographer stands in front of the camera instead of behind it for once.

Unusual image: for this ‘solo image with lady’, the photographer stands in front of the camera instead of behind it for once.

“Unusual, yes, but off-beam? Not at all,” counters the co-founder of Architonic, Tobias Lutz, who first conceived the idea of the exhibition and deliberately selected Techtextil as the place to hold it, rejecting any hint of scepticism. “Quite the contrary, I would say. If not here, then where better? All the images of wrapped objects and buildings at the trade fair showed the great variety of textiles as a material in terms of application as well of aesthetic qualities,” says Lutz, who co-curated the exhibition. The photos, he suggests, offered the beholder an unusual perspective on the interplay between fabric and architecture, displaying, as they did, technical textiles as a wrapping medium in unusual urban and public contexts. Videos and pictures of the exhibition “Textiled Spaces” can be found here.

It makes perfect sense: both application and function of technical textiles, which – often hidden from the consumer – are used to create greater rigidity, lighter structures and improved energy efficiency in aircraft, cars, wind turbine power plants and, recently, even robots, are brought into the centre of (visual) focus in von Schaewen’s images. Textiles reflect what is ephemeral and provisional, for there is change going on beneath the textile wrapping, change that is visible to the beholder.

Beneath textiles: the exhibition was held during the course of the trade fair in Hall 4.1 and was extremely well received, according to von Schaewen

Beneath textiles: the exhibition was held during the course of the trade fair in Hall 4.1 and was extremely well received, according to von Schaewen

It is not until a building is swathed in a textile wrapping that the transience of buildings and urban installations becomes visible for all to see, it is not until it is hidden that the inherent change is manifest in a pre-determined dislocation between the old, hidden, fleeting state and the new, forthcoming one, that has not yet been unveiled. It is something whose tolling the German poet Schiller was also not able to hear (he talked of Beauty, Truth and Goodness coming from within and not to be sought on the outside): technical Textiles can even be aesthetic!

Ronny Eckert

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