Kaunas Art Biennial 'Textile 07'|
published in: Textile Forum 1/08
Kaunas Art Biennial is one of Europe's biggest international textile events. Report on the opening week in november 2007. Kaunas with many of it's museum and galleries is transformed into the centre of an international network. British participants are in the majority, caused by the economic migration of Lithuanian workers into Great Britain, a lively exchange between Art Academies and cheap air fares.
My installation 'Proxyclones' had been selected, participation with support by Dutch Mondriaan Foundation.
'The local driving force is a trinity of women, who has won local and international sponsorships.The Biennial consists of three main exhibitions, art commissions, research projects and workshops.
Narrow examination was a sensitive show that breathed compassion, thoughtfulness and showed the human desire to create with our hands. Four curators from Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil worked on this show. The South African collection curated by Fiona Kirkwood focused on skin as a metaphor, ranging from ancient rituals to political apartheid. The show shouted Africa at the viewer, the pieces exerted a strong attraction that demanded closer attention.
The British show by Gerard Williams and Danica Maier was devoid of even a scrap of textile material, which focussed our attention on the very essence of the matter, i.e. material properties and communication.
The Brazilian collection by Fernandes Marques Penteado reflected on people's strength and lust for life in the face of harsh realities.
The international show 'Wide Examination' showed 32 pieces selected by a panel, chaired by professor Janis Jefferies of Goldsmith Institute, London. From paraphrasing the sacred as in Gerard William's subtle photographs of stone draperies on a sarcophagus to shouting the political as in Fiona Kirkwood's prints and videos - the essential qualities of textiles bounced off each other in this lively visual discussion of contemporary textile Art.'