The exhibition “Art & Textiles” in Stuttgart

First featured by us when it began in Wolfsburg last autumn, this exhibition is currently on view at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart until 22nd June 2014.
Although I take a critical view of the “abuse” of textiles we now encounter in many fine art exhibitions, this show is by far the most interesting of those I have visited. It provides a fair idea of what to expect when textiles are viewed solely from a fine art curator’s perspective. It would then appear that Rosemarie Trockel is the only contemporary “textile artist” worth presenting in an art exhibition (in the Bielefeld show I even found her described as a “weaver”). A shift in values can be perceived which is also reflected in monetary terms: for instance, the insurance value for each of the industrially produced jacquard tapestries by Gerhard Richter exceeds one hundred thousand Euros. Hopefully the total insurance value of his reproduced paintings does not top that of the unique 1520 tapestry ,”La broderie, tapisserie faisant partie de la vie seigneuriale”! Asking this question in Wolfsburg appeared to be something of a sacrilege. Although the Wolfsburg museum staff like to present an open and modern attitude, they did not seem to have an answer to my question.
It is nevertheless worth visiting Stuttgart to see the show for yourself and to join in the discussion on textile art. I feel there should be a greater body of formal information on textiles and textile art, more so as the lack of knowledge displayed by art journalists in their reviews of this and similar exhibitions is striking. The most recent essential publication on the history of textile art is a French book, “L´art textile – broderies, tapisseries, tissus, sculptures” by Michel Thomas, Christine Mainguy and Sophie Pommier, published by Skira in 1985. It is time to provide additional information of this kind; for instance, there is an urgent need for an overview of the contemporary textile art history of each European country and of the continent as a whole.
For all those unable to travel to Stuttgart a very well-produced catalogue in both German and English is available (see review).
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