A compendium of craft masquerading as art, art masquerading as craft, and craft extending its middle finger.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Toile and Trouble

Kent Henricksen is a New-York based artist who takes French Toile de Jouy fabrics and embellishes them with his...um...personal iconography. Frolicking Acadian couples sport Klan robes and rubber bondage masks as they sashay, swing, and cavort through baroque landscapes and interiors. Henricksen's exhibition, Timeless Pleasures was shown last year at Berlin's Atle Gerhardsen gallery, and he most recently participated in the ARS 06 exhibition in Kiasma, Finland. The gallery website goes beyond boilerplate analysis of re-appropriated art by talking about Henricksen's relationship with appropriation as an inverse to the way societies change older images to make them more appropriate to prevailing social mores:

Utilizing the traditional medium of embroidery, Kent Henricksen works contrarily to the historic convention of partially covering works of art in order to adapt them to the prevailing moral code of the time. The fabrics, inspired iconographically by the French rococo of Boucher or Fragonard lose their light heartedness and uncover new contents precisely as a result of the act of concealment. The depicted, hooded figure acts as a universal symbol to reflect the actions of stigmatized individuals of terrorist or masochistic groups. Apart from personal associations with actual events with a political, religious or sexual motivation, historic components are also brought to bear on the basis of the French printed fabrics, criticizing the reign of absolutism during the times of the baroque and rococo.
Dammit. ARS 06 is giving me that old itch to visit Finland...but then I look outside at the 70 degree weather that we're having in Atlanta in the middle of February, and thank the gods that I can experience the work through the miracle of the internets.

LINK via We Make Money Not Art


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