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"stories" Tag

Textile writer Tania Candiani

Tuesday, November 25, 2014




Tania Candiani, Woman, Mexican, 1974, Textile, Language, Artist …


Tania Candiani was part of the exhibition“ The future of fashion is now”, in Rotterdam. In this show, designers and artists try to show some different and new ways to see to the fashion world.

Tania Candiani exposes a big roll of fabric joined with some clothes and dresses. The finality of this work is an installation with fabrics, thread, metal hooks, sound and video. This work was showed almost at the end of the exhibition, a space that, according to me, didn’t support it as much as it could have. Therefore, all my attention wasn’t driven towards the installation as a whole, but only on this big role of fabric.

The title “ La Constancia Dormida “, which stands for Constancia Asleep, makes me think of the collections of stories, including Constancia, y otras novelas para vírgenes (1989; Constancia and Other Stories for Virgins) by the Mexican novelist and short story writer Carlos Fuentes. The theme of these stories, which is about the people and culture from Mexico City, is maybe a influence in Tania’s work.

The role of fabric, that I mentioned before, was exposed on a table and stitched with text. The language used was Spanish and it was about thoughts, feelings and stories of one certain group of people or community, that were influenced by their economic, political and social environment. This context situates her work in the last of the four themes which divided the exhibition: “Fashion Activism: Community and Politics”.

Being influenced by the reaction of these people, she used them as her subject for her story-telling. The textile is then used as a narrative tool as she explains it in one of her statement: “ My research processes take as starting point language, text, the political implications of the domestic, of what is public and private, and of “the others.”

“Translate strategies amongst systems –linguistic, visual, phonic– and practices, generates equivalences and associations (…) textiles have been present in my work as tailoring, as a narrative resource and as labor, socially embedded with meaning. Tailoring as design is a contact point with architecture, where the space distribution of the plans as sewing patterns re-signifying the idea of inhabited space or the utopia of an space that could be inhabited“.


Tania Candiani – Artslant


Tania Candiani – Lot 88

I chose Tania’s work because I really like the simple and minimalist way she approaches two big ideas, in one hand the fashion world and in the other one, a more conceptual idea about community in a political and economical environment. Also, the way she uses textile and combines it with text gives me a big and strong feeling of nostalgia. The way she characterizes the political and human energy really fascinates me and awoke my curiosity. This feeling of nostalgia that is present in her work, makes me land back directly to my home country. This nostalgia and spirit of story telling is something that characterizes the Portuguese personality and community, bringing me even more closer to her work.

By listening to the people in different environments, Tania tries to save the stories and the atmosphere into the fabric by sewing it, and giving it an individual perspective. Through this act of sewing, I see Tania’s work as a memorial where she keeps all the moments and happenings, as a saving for the future, which for me is a really beautiful act. The act of sewing, reminds me of a scar or a tattoo that Tania is stitching in the fabric. By expressing these left marks, it connects us to our individual or common marks, which originates from situations and memories that we experienced. These marks which makes us the person or the people that we became. So it’s like creating and materializing all the spirit, thoughts and feelings from a specific and certain place, time and community.


This way of making art reminds me also of some works, for example, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin and in the traditional bordering from Portugal.


Louise Bourgeois


 Tracey Emin


By having this in mind, I realize that textile can be really strong, powerful and expressive as a subject or a material. It was interesting to see how her work can become, in a way fashion but still textile with a sculptural character. It questioned the fashion world and trying to find or to create this small limit between fashion and textile, becoming in the end something else. Different than the world of fashion that we know now, but still an expressive future form of fashion. This makes her piece relevant, for me, in taking part of this exhibition “ The future of fashion is now “.




Wieki Somers invites your fantasy – Listen to your eyes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

“A porcelain pig’s skull is a teapot. The tea cosy is made of rat’s fur. Imagine that bourgeois ritual moment, when tea is ready with several people already gathered around the small table. And than the furry animal skull lands. A delicious shock, a clash of contradictory thoughts. Horror and delight, celebration and menace. And while your friends silently wonder what kind of tea this might be and how it will taste, there is a moment in which the tasty and the unsavory, harm and delight, can no longer be distinguished.”


The High Tea Pot, designed by Wieki Somers in 2003, is presented in the Stedelijk Museum along with the story above. This storytelling is an important element in Somer’s design [x]. She has her own studio since 2003, and can be considered as a part of the second generation of Dutch designers who gained international reputation. Whereas the previous generation was focused mainly on the conceptual ideas, this new movement revalues the aesthetic element. Her works always contain a narrative element. She doesn’t like objects which are completely finished, to smooth, to ‘design-like’. Because, as she states; “in that case you can’t continue the story, you can’t get your fantasy going and can’t put anything of your own in it”. That is the reason why she attempts to design her products in such a way that the user can dream away. Like a story in a book can have an open ending.

She works on intuition, according to the question she wants to rise. She sees a story in her surroundings, designs a piece, and again creates a story. She makes people create their own stories. And so did I. My story started as soon as I saw this piece the first time. So therefore I have decided to make my research a visual story rather than merely factual text. I will guide you along my own associative journey.

Listen to your eyes.


I got a memory flash of a room I’ve been in. A medieval castle in Vianden, Luxembourg. It was autumn, windy and I must have been eight years old. The smell was humid, and came from the old wet bricks through the flaked off plaster on the walls. The candlelight was dimmed, as so was the sound of the thousands of feet which once walked the tiled floor. The large robust wooden table in the middle of the room was apparently meant to display how the previous kings of this castle had their rich meals. Therefore the table had an overload of fake food. Stuffed wild game lay on the stable. Glassy eyes of swines stared lifeless. Meat of the surrounding forest took their position of being decoration seriously. Some sporadic fake apples painted in a gold cover.

A display of luxury, covered in a thin layer of grey dust, the dust of the stories happened here.



It reminded me of other displays of dead animals, especially these two pieces I saw when visiting the Verbeke Foundation in Antwerp. It shows a typing dead hare. The dead animal is turned into a machine by a human hand. Think of words as ephemeral, fragile, organic, rattail.  Wieki Somers does the same, she turns it into a pig’s skull an object of use, with a functional purpose.


When talking about dead animals, roadkills popped up in my mind. How damaged and used their bodies lie ruffled up at the side of the road. With their wet fur stuck together in the dirt they look gaunt..


Then, think of fur as a luxurious product. Think of the ‘bourgeois ritual of having high teas’. The ability to afford luxurious products. Arrogance and superiority of wealth. To place ourselves above others, above animal living, degrade them to a decorative coat.


As I got deeper into the matter, and after I had associations relating to the Hight Tea Pot itself (the material), I thought of a spherical scenery in which it could fit. Sinister, wicked, fairy-tales with a dark twist. Images from movies as the Adams family, Tim Burton’s Vincent Price, and Lemony’s Snicket appeared.


As I sunk in these atmospheres I discovered a fascination I have for this High Tea Pot. Both the materials that Wieki Somers used are ‘cold’, by that I mean the deadness of the animals. But these remaining of different animals become alive again when the hot tea is poured in the pot. Then the skull heats up, the rat fur is warm and touchable. You feel the heat from the inside, like a breathing organism. And so, I stumbled upon Victorian post-mortem photo’s. These photographs portray recently deceased people. Sometimes the person seems deep asleep, or arranged to appear more lifelike, or even together with alive family members. These photographs contain the same weird mix of death and live, cold and warmth.


As a last note I would like to conclude that the High Tea Pot is a narrative object, and creates a room around it. The invitation to make your own stories, was resulting in this path for me. And whereas the starting point for every story is the design object every time, the paths can lead up to total different stories, so therefore there exist a lot of different endings.

made you look

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I chose a bike. A bike which colours I find hideous, leaving me no option but to rely on shape alone.

Trying to get something out of it I tried to draw the bike over and over again, varying sizes or distance between the individual elements that construct the whole. Then I did a gestural drawing of the bike.

My eyes constructed the shape in front of me, following the bike around it’s wheel, to the seat, which pointed ahead at the handlebars, which steered me, because of the slant of the bars, back to the wheel and the cycle continues. They don’t flow into one another; the elements point, circle and swing constantly towards each other.

The design literally becomes “eye-catching” not allowing me to escape; I have to analyse the object. Even an attempt at escape is  useless as I would only slip back into the shape because of its properties.

An intriguing notion, an object that makes one look, if even for a second longer.
This principle I tried to follow, to arrive at a functional design, but before I completed it, something different happened.

I became intrigued by shape.

The object wasn’t eye-catching, it became different.

It showed so many possibilites, so many open doors that were immediately closed before a new one was opened.

I tried following the same idea, but in this case, I wasn’t intrigued by how the shapes were relating to one another. It offered something new; instead of the shape immediately telling me of an object, this one was like a puzzle. Or like kaleidoscope. Or even like a mirror.

I projected on it. It was telling me stories.

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