International Triennial of Tapestry


Guest Blog post by Christina Hesford On Piotrkowska Street, Łodz, the Central Museum of Textiles, a renovated mill in the industrial heart of Poland, plays host every three years to the International Triennial of Tapestry. Conceived in 1972, this exhibition of textile art is considered, according to Museum Director, Norbert Zawisza, the ‘oldest, biggest and most representative textile review’ still running. Now in its 15th season, this year’s exhibition comprises 130 works by 136 artists representing 46 countries. Opening of 15th Triennial of Tapestry Although titled the Triennial of Tapestry, the majority of the works are a far cry from the traditional notion of figurative woven wall-hangings. Rather most of the pieces, whilst retaining an awareness of heritage, are a bold and innovative re-interpretation of textile art. What is astonishing is that this is the exhibition that brought Magdalena Abakonwicz into the spotlight 40 years ago, and yet is still showcasing the next stage of divergence and development in textile art. Examples of this include: ‘Do you see it, it doesn’t see you’, a vertical landscape of hand cut felt by Anna J. van Stuijvenberg (Netherlands); the dark, nebulous synthetic form of Lucy Irvine’s (Australia) ‘Being Many Things’; and Gold prize-winner Tereza Barabash's (Ukraine) ‘Rain in Ukraine’ - a suspended formation of red-wrapped nails. RWSDF Excellently curated by Jolanta Piwońska and Marcin Oko, who could easily have displayed works according to country, instead play the pieces against one another to develop conversation and contrast. Carefully positioned throughout three floors of lofty industrial space, works are placed to  emphasise the diversity in artists’ use of colour, texture and process, as well as the unifying themes underpinning current textile art. These include: disturbing the surface through processes such as embroidery or knotting; challenging the notion of ‘textile materials’ through the use of metal sculpting, weaving with pine-needles, and paper-cutting; and exploring the 3-dimensional capacity of textiles. WGESDF Arguably not all of the 130 works in this year’s exhibition are at the forefront of what is considered contemporary textile art, but as an invitational exhibition and competition, as opposed to an exhibition curated through a selection process, this is understandable. As a review exhibition, it succeeds in providing a snapshot of current textile practices and trends, by showcasing the fully diverse cross-section of the globe’s talent. In many ways, this makes for a refreshing textile art experience. 15th International Triennial of Tapestry

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  • Linda Errington on

    Enjoyed reading this informative review about the International Triennial Tapestry Exhibition by Christina Hesford. I was fortunate to attend the exhibition in Poland and was very impressed by the works on show. Christina Hesford herself a textile weaver/artist had a piece called ‘denouement’ exhibited that was exquisite.

  • peggh Whitney Hobbs on

    It is wonderful to see this most impressive exhibit continuing. i saw one of the early shows with the Friends of Fiberart International, a memorable experience.

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