Finnish artist Noora Schroderus likes playing with societal assumptions. By embroidering bank notes - a rather simple act in one sense - Schroderus makes a tongue-in-cheek statement about notions of power, industry, and gender.
Take these U.S and British bank notes, for example. Schroderus has taken a mass-produced and printed piece of currency - the very foundation of a capitalist economy - and has embellished it. Embroidery brings colour and texture to a one-dimensional piece of paper, while the addition of feminine hairstyles challenges assumptions about masculine forms of power. We are not used to seeing very feminine imagery on currency (even images of the Queen on banknotes are arguably somewhat masculine), so this captures our attention.
Not only is the imagery on the banknote feminine, but embroidery itself has traditionally been an activity primarily ascribed to women. The history, significance and materiality of embroidery are all being explored in a new online exhibition, CLAIMING NEEDLES, in which Schroderus' banknotes are on dipslay.
The goal of the exhibition is to "heighten awareness of embroidery art" as well as to challenge the definitions of notions such as "female", "emotional", or "traditional", in order to create space for new avenues in embroidery art. The work of fifty-three other international contemporary artists is also presented - online, for free, 24/7.
Blog post by Jessica Edney