Weaving Justice 

Curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos 

Modern art always stood against social injustice, communal exploitation and political corruption, from the Dadaists to Feminist Art of the ‘70s and from the early 20th century Russian Avant Garde to the Situationists of the ‘60s. Today, active and political art is vital for the well-being of the social continuum during a fluctuating age of cultural delirium. The chosen artist team comprised of Kalos & Klio, Jia-Jen Lin, Joan Giordano, Xin Song, Maria Karametou, Tara Foley, Aviva Rahmani, Xin Song, Eozen Agopian, Renee Magnanti, Despo Magoni, Cianne Fragione, Artemis Alcalay, Ahree Lee, Eva Petric, Yiannis Christakos, and Chinchih Yang, via their non-pareil art, with the psychic vastness of the creative spirit, object vehemently to the ethical indifference and societal injustice of the present establishment.

Sadie Plant, in her essay “The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics” talks solemnly about the symbolic correlation of weaving in equivalent relation, to the gradual emancipation of women (and in this case also femininist men) and cybernetic machines alike, within a nodal nexus of critical re-evaluation of contemporary humankind. Yannis Christakos’ mapping of complex linear skeins allude to metropolitan centers, and are layered with embroideries of roses that traditionally symbolize the Madonna as if he wishes for the world.

Joan Giordano’s interwoven constructions of political newspapers from dissimilar cultures, converging them creatively into a polymorphic synthesis with primordial myths of each civilization, engraves vividly upon the viewer, a sociological and anthropological statement of the concomitant becoming of world history, while Renee Magnanti’s weaves unfurl acutely a fluorescent pathos of artistic and political expression through social lines or poetic phrases such as “the weight of my breasts and my womb crushed me.” –like her magical carved encaustics- manifest mightily, a lyrical externalization of the esoteric burdens of modern womankind and of the socio-political issues of today’s America. As seen in her series entitled ‘Recollected,’ Xin Song’s coloristic tapestry-like works are sewn in various patterns to appear as collages. Song works with paper cutting as a way of taking advantage of the shadow and light, but also because the delicacy and coloration of the black and white paper can be associated with the Taoist yin and yang which is part and parcel of Asian culture.

Kalos and Klio are a team who in their On the Tapis, 2017-2019 series created an installation utilizing hand woven wool carpets with which to treat socio-political subjects. The larger size carpets have been woven in Greece and the smaller ones in Nepal by Tibetan refugees. The partners challenge notions of freedom and democracy that apply to the few and privileged while examining the world’s problematic political and social climate. Their iconography alludes to archetypes, traditional themes, and elements from Eastern and western cultures to produce a rich and complex dialogue. 

Cianne Fragione’s and Eva Petric’s ethereal works, hover gradually between the personal interstice of dual identity, and morph imaginatively the innermost sentiments of ethnic duality into concrete beings of pure chromatic effusion. Fragione’s assemblage installation comprised of a number of mixed media 60×30 pieces, in its inclusion of woven dresses, and accessories in its feminine content speaks to delicacy yet also to the complexity entailed in being a woman. Eva Petric also has a delicate metier in that she creates site specific installations of delicate lacy fields overlain with figures that appear to float on gossamer wings. Ahree Lee’s weaves ‘Timesheet: November 4-10, 2018’ which is a daily recording of her activities that like a spreadsheet works both horizontally and vertically. So that, she gives physicality to her activities while showing her multidimensional role as wife, mother, housekeeper, while transforming domestic labor into art with cultural value.

Despo Magoni’s expressionist distortion of the form -often painted viciously on old pages from global newspapers-overflowing violently with internal conflicts of modern society and it’s unbearable strain on every woman’s deeper self, epitomizes inarguably the integral state of psychological art. Chin chih Yang’s seemingly abstract 2 and 3 dimensional works, with solid emotive titles such as “Pollution/Solution” or “Half-Masked”, represent the esoteric sentiment of unrelenting desperation while seeking ethical solutions within contemporary industrial civilization. Similarly, Aviva Rahmani’s performance -pieces like ‘Blued Trees’ in their activist nature, call for vigorous resistance against society’s political and social meltdown. In her colorful tapestries Tara Foley cordially invites the wellspring and vitality of female identity. Artemis Alcalay’s weavings capture expressively “an ingenious trip to a reality at once contemporary and historical, personal and collective, rational and emotional, in which the four major themes of family, art, religion and homeland converge and commune…”

Jia-Jen Lin explores the human condition and its relationship to the body based on her personal experience to create interdisciplinary works. Her site-specific installation with braids made of black rubber is reminiscent of women’s hair but also the industrial landscape. Eozen Agopian’s woven wall-sculpture ‘Breakthrough’ speaks to the complexity of human nature in its vertical, horizontal and unraveling threads that can also be read as fingers that allude to hand labor. The embroidery and weaving works by Maria Karametou can also be related to the idea of hand labor and women’s place as she repurposes mass produced materials such as hair pins to create in intricate patterns, works of the utmost power and complexity.

At a time, when modernity is degrading rapidly into socio-econo-political chaos and justice unravels and disperses into non-utilitarian micro-politics and techno-cultural undermining, while injustice keeps spreading, against minorities, disadvantaged classes and groups, these artists take it as their life’s goal to reshape through their art, the way we generally comprehend activism and vital action.

  Weaving Justice  Curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos  Modern art always stood against social injustice, communal exploitation and political corruption, from the Dadaists to Feminist Art of the ‘70s and from the early 20th century Russian Avant Garde to the Situationists of the ‘60s. Today, active and political art is vital for the well-being of the Read More »