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ART OR CRAFT?

Selvedge

“It’s less labour intensive than weaving,” says the artist Caroline Achaintre. She is of course referring to crafting what she calls her three-dimensional woollen paintings: a series of theatrical wall hangings that have recently been catching the eyes of the art world’s most influential tastemakers. Born in France, raised in Germany and now living and working in London, Achaintre first trained as a painter before seeking out wool; “a more domestic medium”. MoustacheEagle Hand-tufting each of her artworks, Achaintre has invented her own unusual technique. With an air tool connected to a compressor, she uses the air pressure to shoot wool through the backs of outstretched canvases. She takes pleasure in wool’s uneven surfaces, its shaggy textures and the mistakes that are made with it. Taking materials and processes traditionally associated with the applied arts, and working them into a contemporary art practice, Achaintre subverts both genres, discovering a new space to occupy between fine art and craft. 2016-Caroline-Achaintre-Lord-Lard_BALTIC Her practice encompasses textiles, ceramics, prints and watercolours, and has often been noted for its supernatural and primitive connotations. Her pieces “Mustache Eagle” and “Lord Lard” (above) for example have all been compared to abstract tribal masks. Conjuring up a sense of theatre, these wall hangings hone in on that moment of transformation. The artist goes so far as to call her installations “characters”. cac3313lourdes Gallery-goers ought to keep in mind the essentially “domestic medium” of her materials, as Achaintre says herself. Wool offers up a sense of the home, of interior spaces and of familial relationships. By merging these homely associations with primitive and magical narratives, Achaintre’s work is both cosy and alien. Adorning the walls of international high-end art galleries, these woollen sculptures seem to be inventing a new genre of making; something lingering between contemporary art and traditional craft. Caroline Achaintre's work is currently on show at Truth and Consequences gallery, Geneva. www.truthandconsequences.ch www.carolineachaintre.com www.balticmill.com www.tate.org.uk www.frieze.com


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