Skarstedt in London is one of those slick contemporary galleries that unabashedly boasts an arsenal of blue chip artists. From Yves Klein to Andy Warhol and David Salle, Jenny Holzer to Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, it’s no surprise that the upper echelons of artists who use textiles can be found on this line-up well. German-born artist Rosemarie Trockel (whose knitted paintings have been selling in the millions recently at Sotheby’s) is one of them, and has just opened her solo exhibition at Skarstedt earlier this week.
This exhibition is Rosemarie’s first ever in the UK dedicated solely to her iconic knitted wool paintings from the 1980s and 1990s. Born in 1952, she made a name for herself in the art world as a diverse and driven artist who often uses symbols and logos found in pop culture as a way to comment on society’s social norms – especially when it comes to women’s roles. One of her knitted paintings that sold three years ago for almost $5million is a prime example of her astute approach; juxtaposing repeated wool symbols with playboy bunny ones, decontextualizing these loaded logos and turning them into one collective, decorative pattern. With an increasing amount of emerging textile artists now using this traditionally female form to criticise the negative connotations it once held, Rosemarie was one of the original leading lights in this now-celebrated movement.
Throughout her career she has used many materials aside from wool such as sculpture and drawing, and has recurrently navigated complex issues such as commercialisation, ethnography and science (a subject that she once studied early on in her life before turning towards art). She became best known for her knitted paintings during the eighties and nineties however, using machines to generate her knitted paintings, made of knitted woollen material placed on a stretcher. This unusual and playful approach to both textiles and painting solidified her position as an experimental artist, laying the foundation for a lengthy and fruitful career well into the 21st century.
Rosemarie Trockel: Knitted Works, 7 June - 4 August 2017
Skarstedt, 8 Bennet Street, London SW1A 1RP