For those of you who were longing for the Croatian translation of “I knit so I don’t kill people”, you’ll find it above. You’re welcome.
This work by Croatian painter Duje Kodzoman serves as the introduction to Rdeča nit / Crvena nit / Il filo rosso / Red Line (or better, Red Thread), a collaborative exhibit between the Design Society of Slovenia (DOS) and the Croatian Association of Artists of Applied Arts (ULUPUH) now showing at the Municipal Gallery of Art in Piran, Slovenia.
The piece set an appropriately light tone for the exhibit, at least in my mind, which immediately raced off remembering woman from my childhood who spent an inordinate amount of time with knitting needles in their nervously busy hands. Most were from the former Yugoslavia and I can’t begin to imagine the number of lives their pastime had spared.
That playful intro notwithstanding, there’s an inviting flare of both magical realism and surrealism to the exhibit, set across the attractive twin story space located at the northwestern corner of the city’s central Tartini Square, which includes the work of 21 artists.
According to the exhibit program, the concept finds its most immediate origins in the 2010 exhibit The Power of the Thread held in in Alsatian city of Husseren-Wesserling, France, which combined textile works in both classic and modern styles. This show is a continuation of that, a thread of continuity in an almost literal sense.
Most take on the form of textile sculptures, from Eta Breznik’s Leteče preproge / Leteći ćilimi (2010) above, which dominate the space, to the twin dresses below, V Vetru and Trnuljčica by Ksenija Baraga, who also collaborated in the Alsace exhibit.
But what most fascinated me was Urh Sobočan‘s very nontraditional take on čipkanje, the very traditional Slovenian lace work made famous by the wives of slowly dying mercury miners in the town of Idrija. I joked that his subject matter, largely scenes of death and despair, isn’t quite your grandmother’s typical čipkanje. It turns out that it is. Sobočan prepared the drawings, and his grandmother took over with needle and thread to produce the exhibit’s best cross-generational collaboration.
A few more images from the 16 October 2015 opening below.
Rdeča nit / Crvena nit / Il filo rosso
Mestna galerija Piran (Piran City Gallery), Tartinijev trg 3, Piran
Through 24 January 2016
And marginally related: Since I don’t blog much about this thousand year old Adriatic seaside town that gave its name to this site (and me to the world), I suggest you check out more about Piran here.