Textiles in the Visual Arts
Starting out from modernism and the avant-garde, the research project examines the transmedial potential of textiles—both in the visual arts and as they interface with the applied arts, architecture, and design. With their soft, fragile, ephemeral properties, textiles as medium, technique, material, and metaphor stand for hybridism and artificiality. The techniques of industrial weaving were thus the model for the development of the first computer programs, and patterns of textile ornamentation are reflected in the algorithms of the Internet.
Thanks to the MAK Textiles and Carpets Collection, as well as its close ties with experts Gottfried Semper und Alois Riegl, the MAK possesses fundamental know-how in the field of textile research. In the creation and appreciation of textile objects, haptic qualities play a role equally as important as that played by dyes and coloration. Production processes and parameters are determinant aspects of artistic praxis. In the discourse between the visual arts and handicrafts, questions of cultural appropriation and authorship need to be reformulated. What role or function do textiles have in contemporary artistic methodology? What contribution can textiles make to futures studies? The research project examines the situation of visual artists who are working on the development of textiles as a medium and function as multipliers.
Project Editor: Bärbel Vischer, Curator, MAK Contemporary Art Collection