The skin on the milk |
Introduction to the catalogue of the third edition of the Rijswijk Textile Biennial 2013
The visual memory of touch
Initially it is a slippery, shiny layer on hot milk. When fished out of the cup, dangling from the spoon, it proves to be a surprisingly tenacious substance. Draped over the edge of the saucer it forms interesting folds and wrinkles. Any contact with lip or tongue is for many people abhorrent. Just reading about skin on milk can bring on the impulse to retch. This reaction can often be linked to memories from childhood. What artist would not want to effect such an intense reaction – preferably with a positive charge of course – with his/her work?
The violent reaction to a layer of congealed casein illustrates how strong our visual perception is allied to touch, memories, associations and visceral emotions. But what do sight, skin, touch and gut feelings have to do with textiles?
Textile art not only appeals to the visual perception but also to our largest organ – skin with its tactile sensors. In just one square centimetre of skin there are 7.5 million cells, 245 sweat glands, 25 hairs, 2.5 metres of blood vessels, 7,500 sensory nerves and 8 million microscopic organisms. The most precise sense of touch is located in the fingertips,...