Culture

"The event of a thread" weaves identity marks into universal textiles

The artists' cultures and narratives are connected in the exhibition "The Event of a Thread". They include the evolution from the exploration of the thread from its processing to its transformation into a work of art. They are "global narratives in textiles", as is the second part of the title of the exhibition opened on Thursday night at the National Gallery of Kosovo. The works vary depending on the cultural spaces. And this is precisely the concept of the exhibition that foresees the connection in the narrative of the exhibition

“The Event of a Thread. Global narratives in textiles" can mean the name for the material from which dozens of works exhibited in the National Gallery of Kosovo are formed. But it becomes more meaningful when the story about the organization of the event begins.

Sixteen artists were guaranteed to exhibit their works in the capital. Ten others have joined the artists who explore their artistic world through works that have textile as their medium. There are personal narratives and cultural identities that connect the threads of the past and the present.

The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations with the traveling exhibition "The Event of a Thread" has collected the cultures and narratives of artists in the exhibition rooms of the Gallery. It includes the evolution from the exploration of yarn from its processing to its transformation into a work of art.

The inclusion of local artists in the exhibition has been a kind of proof that her weaving affects the works. They narrate, communicate with the works next to them. They seem to vary depending on cultural spaces. And this is precisely the concept of the exhibition that foresees the connection in the narrative of the exhibition of the artists and the co-curators.

German curators Susanne Weiß and Inka Gressel have brought the eighth edition of the exhibition to Pristina, unfolding global narratives in the textile medium as a starting point.

Curator Susane Weiß has said that folklore signs are inevitable in these works as elements of the collective exhibition "The Event of a Thread".

“The strong part of this exhibition is that it's a kind of big carpet like a river that gets longer and longer wherever we go. It is an important moment of our exhibition that tells different stories that originate from the places we go. People are familiar with them and understand that they are related to textiles as a medium", curator Weiß, who is a museologist by profession, but also acts as a mediator, told TIME. In her career she has conceived various series of exhibitions that have expanded the exhibition program in ways specific to her country and beyond. Together with Inka Gressel, they have been developing the traveling exhibition since 2015.

Inka Gressel said that the idea of ​​the event is to bring the different countries into conversation with the German in each country they travel to.

"The idea is that wherever we go we connect with local textile artists as well as curators. Creating these local dialogs helps us keep this thread connected. We are interested in textiles as a medium with many characteristics where you can talk about threads, beliefs, society, political backgrounds. It is a static medium from which you can also explore stories. "The event of a thread" is the name of the event where every place is connected in this thread", said the curator Gressel, while considering that the works of the exhibition are in communication with each other.

"Textiles are at the heart of this exhibition. It is a kind of dialogue. There you find different cultures, forms of migration. We have also invited designers, you can also find the work of local artists that we have selected together with Hana. The works are close to architecture as well as very aesthetic", said Gressel, who has completed Applied Cultural Studies in Lüneburg and Berlin, Germany and in Madrid, Spain. She worked as a research assistant at the art gallery "Badischer Kunstverein" and at "Documenta 12". She contributed to these events as an editor and author.

“The Event of a Thread. Global Narratives in Textiles' brings out the complex ways of working with textiles. The Albanian narrative comes through the works of Blerim Luzhë, Farija Mehmet, Silvi Naç, Barbara Prenkas, Gani Riza, Matej Rodiq, Driton Selman and Valbona Zherka.

Zherka's work brings to mind traditional workshops that were placed as wall decorations. "The journey" is the tapestry inspired by the past, but also the imagination and utopian speculation about the future.

The corridor going up the stairs to the upper floor is the meeting point with the "stand" with works by Gani Riza. The Paris-born and raised artist has brought to the table a variety of textile techniques, including tapestries with national symbols and other figures. "ALBAN'$ 4EVER: I have a story to tell", is the name of his work that combines many elements, which he started working on in 2020.

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The corridor going up the stairs to the upper floor is the meeting point with the "stand" with works by Gani Riza

Right next to it, in the room dedicated to the education part, the chairs placed around two tables are covered with fabric designed by Blerim Luzhë. This was one of his works that hangs in the frame, along with three others. The black background is designed with blue and white flowers and fine lines all over. It is the result of the design on paper with acrylic colors in 1974.

The work of the artist Driton Selmani is composed of a series of drawings of the map of Kosovo, how it is known and how it is drawn. Made in 2012, the work was conceived during his studies in England when he realized that Kosovo was often not found on maps, texts and lists of countries. The sketches for "Tell me where I am from" were used by his colleagues whom he had asked to show where Kosovo was located and what its borders looked like. It includes the framed embroidered work and nine drawings.

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In the room dedicated to the education part, the chairs placed around the two tables are covered with fabric designed by Blerim Luzhë

"Handkerchiefs" by Farija Mehmet bring the Roma culture through colorful and different shaped handkerchiefs. The handkerchiefs hanging on the wall are also in the version of the painting where the Roma woman is presented with them tied on her head.

A work that narrates a personal story and not only that of society, is that of Silvi Naçi. Six photos on paper are on the wall, a belt on the table. The latter is the source of the narrative. He talks about violence not only in private spaces. It runs through the writing "the term domestic violence has been used as a 'soft' term suggesting that violence occurs in an intimate context that is private and less threatening, less brutal, than violence that occurs outside the home... more women are beaten and they are killed at home than…”, the sentence ends.

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Valbona Zherka's work brings to mind traditional workshops that were placed as wall decorations. "The journey" is the tapestry inspired by the past, but also the imagination and utopian speculation about the future

Barbara Prenka and Matej Rodiqi also speak artistic language through textiles.

The co-curator of the exhibition, Hana Halilaj, said that local artists add new stories to the traveling exhibition "The Event of a Thread".

"In the National Gallery, we have invited ten new artists as far as the list of this exhibition is concerned. These artists then weave and bring new stories. The jobs are installed so that they all talk to each other. We not only wear new meanings because of the context in which they appear, but they take on new meanings even though they are presented alongside other different works", said Halilaj, curator at the National Gallery of Kosovo.

Güneş Terkol from Turkey has brought the lines of the human figure mixed with those of objects in different parts of the body. There are a total of fourteen pieces of art that make up her work "Desire passed by Band" made in 2010. She has said that they represent the period before the time of the Ottoman Empire and after it.

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Güneş Terkol from Turkey has brought the lines of the human figure mixed with those of objects in different parts of the body. There are a total of fourteen pieces of art that make up her work "Desire passed by Band"

"They are surrealistic characters that have objects in some parts of the body, such as arms that look like spoons, objects from the house or other places. I did this work in 2010 in Izmir. It was an Austrian-Turkish company where textile materials worked. I took the scraps and made these characters. They are like a kind of band that makes music, sounds", she said while adding that textiles have long been her palette.

Christian Böttcher, representative of the German Embassy in Kosovo, was present at the opening of the exhibition. He said that textiles are an interesting topic because everyone can find themselves in them.

"Textiles are with us, inside us, around us, always. It's not only about clothing, but about everything that surrounds us. It is a daily topic of discussion. It is modern and traditional at the same time. They are very different and do not stop developing", he said in his speech at the opening of the exhibition "The Event of a Thread". After Pristina, Skopje will join the thread of the "Event of a Thread".