Frieze adds textiles to its London fair

New section for 2019 features eight textile-based artists from around the world
L.A. Liberty (1992) by Patricia Apad. Image courtesy of Frieze and Silverlens Galleries, Manila
L.A. Liberty (1992) by Patricia Apad. Image courtesy of Frieze and Silverlens Galleries, Manila

We are in a fibre art-heyday, writes the curator Jenelle Porter in our book Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art, “in which thread is no different from paint, fabric no different from bronze, weaving no different from welding.”

And, as if to prove the point, this year’s Frieze London has added a new textiles section to the art fair. Entitled Woven, the new feature will explore “textiles, weaving and the legacies of colonialism”.

However, this new section, doesn’t only celebrate the newfound inclusiveness of textile art, but also the way this once folksy form gave an outlet under very different circumstances, to less easily heard voices. 

The show features a range of artists from across the world, some of whom are “working with vernacular, indigenous, or underground traditions, employing textiles and weaving, either in a direct way or as an expanded exploration of this fertile medium.”

There are artists such as the late Indian artist Mrinalini Mukherjee, who, as our book explains, makes figurative sculptures out of knotted and dyed rope; the heartfelt darning and painted canvas collages of the Brazilian José Leonilson; and the painting-like quilts of Pacita Abad from the Philippines.


Vitamin T

The eight-artist presentation will bring together plenty of threads, says curator Cosmin Costinas, as it looks back at the Imperial influence in different parts of the world, examines the accompanying political exploitation, and “points to the various languages available to artistic practice in this critical effort.”

For more on the various, worldwide applications of textiles and threads in contemporary art, order a copy of Vitamin T here and be clued up on who to buy and why before the fair opens.

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