Cold wash, drip dry – do not wring

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A3 Kirjan tai muun kokoomateoksen osa
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Mönstrade Positioner
When I dropped my bags in my first (shared) address in Helsinki, I couldn’t help but feel at home . It took me a good long while to get a hold of the source of that feeling, which didn’t entirely refer to memories of lived experiences collected from spaces I – and many others – have called home. I spent most of the time in the kitchen, where at a single glance, I could find a beautiful collision of printed textiles and ceramics from a timeframe slightly shorter than the one this exhibition attends to. They didn’t necessarily match (in a conservative sense of the word) but surfaced great correspondence with each other. At times critical, at times funny, at times calm - at home, we do need it all. It was possibly this sense of being strangely harmonious that was the source of my feeling. The title of this text tries to evoke this experience - complex, caring and beyond visual perception. Textile art and design hold a place of unique and self-standing importance in the Finnish context, praised internationallyfrom as early as the 1900s. Similar to glass and ceramics in their approaches, Finnish textiles enmeshed visual arts and handcrafts, bringing expressive non-figurative prints executed through applied arts processes (Korvenmaa 2014: 259). Though largely exhibited in (or commissioned by) galleries, museums and public spaces, Finnish printed textiles have a natural place in the domestic space. From DIY ryijy rug kits to curtains and bed linen with bold prints, the long and intimate engagement may be precisely what elevates them from ordinary objects to ones of remembrance and permanence. Much has shifted in the Finnish arts and design environment from the post-war flourishing through the highly successful 1980s and the post-Soviet recession in the 1990s (Pietarinen 2012). Working on their own terms, the Finnish contemporary designers showcased in this exhibition are a complement to this history and its practices. While a heightened sense of quality and blurred limits between visual and applied arts remain clear in their work, they also challenge this heritage by adding notions that critically and intimately speak to their (and our) time. Klaus Haapaniemi’s designs are an ode to Nordic nature and Finnish folklore in a uniquely intricate visual language that knows no geographical barriers. The art-design boundary is truly dissolved in Daniel Pallilo’s work, critically discussing sculptural forms and humour in soft materials. Reeta Ek makes visible the body of the designer-artist in brushstrokes and offers a novel take on timeless abstract expression in mixed-media processes. The work of Tuuli-Tytti Koivula takes us back again to the domestic space but likely not your regular home – where hand-painted familiar motifs are reorganized and adorn garments in unexpected forms and ways. This short text is an invitation to share attention to how the textiles we wear on our bodies and with our homes can affect how we feel. It is also a reminder of the lives of textiles, often longer than our own, and how cold washing and drip drying can take us back and forward in time. References: Pietarinen, Heidi (2012) Internationalizing Finnish Textile Art. In Hohti, Paula (ed.) Boundless Design. Perspectives on Finnish Applied Arts. Helsinki: Avain. Korvenmaa, Pekka (2014) Finnish Design. A concise history. Helsinki: Aalto ARTS Books & London: Victoria and Albert Museum.
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Valle Noronha , J 2023 , Cold wash, drip dry – do not wring . in M Bergström (ed.) , Mönstrade Positioner . Textilmuseet , Borås , pp. 90-93 , Mönstrade Positioner , Borås , Sweden , 14/10/2023 .