The Bachelor of Fine Arts Ksenija Baraga invited four textile artists of different generations to collaborate in the project The Power of Thread: Eta Sadar Breznik, Anda Klačič, Jana Mršnik and Vesna Štih. They create in different textile techniques, but the research and inspiration of all is based on fibre and thread. Even though they come from different professional and educational fields, they all perceive co-creation of space and intervention in it as the key elements of designing its identity. This establishes the synergic fibre – thread link, the ambience, symbolism and inspiration, and opens paths for artistic and authorial upgrading.
While the work of Ksenija Baraga is characterized by structural, textural, colouristic and sculptural finesses with emphasized details, the work of Eta Sadar Breznik features transparent ambience installations with thoughtful light accents. Anda Klančič presents herself with her manuscript, a drawing of linear and three-dimensional machine embroidered lace. Jana Mršnik and Vesna Štih (trademark BelaBela) research new interpretations of textile, using various atypical materials and exploring the limits of the textile idea.
The authors and their work are not only linked by a common relation to space, but also by the deeper symbolical expressiveness they strive for. The basic human and existential legitimacies – warnings, visions, associative ties, archetypes, symbolism, vastness of spirit etc. – echo and radiate from their works.
The titles of Ksenija Baraga’s works – Dance, We’re hanging on a thread and The Little Prince – suggest profound subjects. The Flying Carpets by Eta Sadar Breznik also remain in suggestible frames, but – with their monumental dimensions – cross the boundary of the fabulous into the world of the abstract and philosophical relations. The textile installation Footpaths III by Anda Klančič relates to every one of us. The picturesque landscape with silhouettes of human bodies draws our different and rich paths of life. The events around BelaBela’s “membrane of transparent veils”, into the meditative space of which the designer is headed, noticeably change their subtle expressions. The metaphorical poetics of external and internal-personal perceptions reveal “diverse connections, encounters and communications, as well as the memory of our own constitution, connection with others, the world, and the universe.”
All artists at the exhibition are freelance artists on the Slovene culture scene and have been researching various fields of fine arts and artistic creativeness through their different creative periods. In their numerous projects and results of individual researches they try to surpass the established conceptions of textile design as solely an applicable form. They want to refine the more complex comprehension of textile art with multi-layered and ambiguous messages.
Ksenija Baraga is inspired by the richness and responsiveness of materials; she establishes daring relations between fibres and threads and applies new techniques of weaving, knitting, sewing, crochet, tying etc. within the established knitting techniques and practices. In 1981 she exhibited a traditional one-way knitted knitting surface and thus enabled an independent painting-like method of composition with lines, colours and texture, knitting from numerous centres towards different directions. An important element in sketching and presenting her works is light. The meditative dynamics of the “living picture-sculpture”, which pulses under the influence of the atmospheric effect of daylight, constantly changing its colour and expressive spectrum, as well as the visual structural and textural accents in density, transparency and materials, seems like a fascinating notion of the sublime.
The Prešeren Fund Award winner Eta Sadar Breznik already placed tapestry into space 30 years ago, when we experienced its floating, surprising lightness and spatial fascination. Her monumental fibrous ambient fluctuations lose their weight and materiality despite the dimensions they are fitted into. The game of light and shadows, which is co-created by the illumination in colourful transparency, embraces the whole space and the fascinating lines of the chiaroscuro spray in all directions in their artistic glowing. The visitors, of course, also experience the intensity of such glowing and are affected by the artistic and abstract metaphoric. The installation reforms space into architecture, an inspirational ambience, as the connection with fibre – our touch – is allowed, inviting and almost necessary.
Anda Klančič, the patent holder for the hollow machine embroidered lace from 1997, the 1999 winner of the Exellence Award at the 6th international competition (ITF) in Kyoto, Japan, is also known as the creator of the elastic machine embroidered lace (1995), made continually in one piece, where the elasticity derives from thoughtfully applied stitches without visually disturbing compounding seams (unfortunately, she never patented the authorship). The central theme of Footpaths III is freeing textile from any weight and emphasizing its most basic element – thread. In the installation, thread assumes the function of the artist’s manuscript. It simultaneously presents itself, its fragility and power, the author and the message of the installation. With its abstract visual identity, it associatively takes us towards the metaphors and poetics of the personal and collective, the well-trodden or not yet discovered paths.
Jana Mršnik and Vesna Štih create under their trademark BelaBela. Even though the modularity of the polypropylene fluid bodies with the structural and textural lightness of textile is one of their most perceptible features, as it enables the users to compose the product according to their wish and inspiration without the use of glues or connective agents and is easy to maintain and recycle, the light in the artists’ presentations does not lose importance. Due to its symbolical expressiveness and meditative ésprit, light is the key part of BelaBela’s recognisability. The Growing light of organza beams, spreading outwards from the scarcely hinted light source in the depth, “like subtle cosmic dust, a loose cloud or a mysterious body within a body”, draws attention also to the numerous but important, though increasingly neglected details and micro spaces, which we tend to overlook in the hastiness of the present-day world.
In the modern industrialized environment, where the production of millions of identical products is losing its author`s trace, the uniqueness does not only draw attention to products, but also evokes respect for the artist whose researches and creations make a quality contribution to the cultural heritage of the world. Their inspirational researches and results are assumed and transmitted in details and segments; in time, the authorship becomes blurred and merges into the integrity of the global textile and artistic heritage.
Nuša Podgornik, Art Critic