INAUGURATES INPARADISO 3030, ALONGSIDE VENICE ART BIENNALE 2019
“Performing Textiles” by the Thai artist Kawita Vatanajyankur, is the solo-exhibition which inaugurates the opening of the CEA – Concilio Europeo dell’Arte‘s new seat and gallery –InParadiso 3030, in the very heart of Venice art district, just aside the magnificient Basilica dei Frari.
It is no coincidence that the Concilio Europeo dell’Arte chose the renowned video artist and performer Kawita Vatanajyankur for the opening of InParadiso 3030, on the occasion of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Her solo-exhibition brings her latest provocations to Venice: the series Performing Textiles provoke questions surrounding the place of cultural identity, feminism, women’s work, consumerism and lived experiences – classified through a lens of hyper-coloured realism and the intensity of physical versus material composition. Her suite of videos offers a vignette into the physicality and vulnerability of the feminine body.
Protagonist of the contemporary Asian and Australian art scene, as well as in Europe and USA, Kawita investigates throughout her video-performances the vulnerable female condition, in which female bodies are engaged in almost impossible balancing acts, while captivating and luminous colors characterize an aesthetic research that draws on the visual language of the network, a sarcastic allusion to consumerism that claims to give instant gratification.
Performing Textiles – created when travelling around New Zealand – stems from a journey in Thailand that the artist has undertaken to explore the various textile production techniques existing in small villages, adopted by local women workers: here, production was often time-consuming, but the quality of fabrics fashioned by these women were superior. And it is Kawita’s body performances giving voice to the work of these women, questioning the way in which work is organized and, in turn, the position of women in society.
However, textiles undeniably have a place firmly embedded in history, and it is this history of textile production – recognised as women’s labour – that has ingrained itself in our culture. Basketry, loom weaving, knitting, crochet and lacemaking are all feminine material skills that rendered men unnecessary. As such, Vatanajyankur’s practice “focuses on valuing women’s everyday work and labour, while offering a powerful examination of social and cultural ways of viewing women’s work”. Labour exploitation is a major issue within consumeristic society, blocking access to female empowerment and gender equality. Performing Textiles brings this issue into the public sphere.
In her performances, Vatanajyankur transforms her body into various textile process tools. Her physical form becomes the embodiment of a spinning wheel or weaving shuttle. As the works progress, her body struggles to compete as the material tool, and thus her form undergoes both psychological and physical metamorphosis. repeating infinitely the movements.
Textiles are linked symbolically to birth, fertility and reproduction. The practice of working with materials connects women’s bodies to the earth. It is a symbol of life and power. There is a poetic parallel which exists between the creation of new thread and new life.