Prints and patterns
My immediate environment is an important source of inspiration. In my work, the fleetingness of the every day and the idea that only the extraordinary seems to capture our attention is an important theme. I temporize, to dwell on the things and moments we vaguely remember and the things we appropriate, to keep memories alive. In my work I focus on small everyday matters that are hardly looked after. So it is with the prints and patterns that can be found in my house. In 2021 I photographed them and made a series of prints: Prints and Patterns
But besides this theme, Prints and Patterns also has another meaning. With this work I investigate the history and necessity of decorations and decorating. A subject that is comprehensive. Think of the relationship between art and decoration, between art and craft and the role of women in this.
In the Middle Ages, decorated objects were only accessible to an elite, with the industrialization more luxurious interior furnishings and the possession of decorated objects were accessible to a wider public. Decorative motifs from classical art were no longer used. Rococo ornaments and Chinese motifs were also popular at that time and were combined with a free interpretation of nature motifs. Decoration became an important means of enticing people to buy. When the Great Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations was held in London in 1851, it became clear what this led to: too lavish and arbitrarily decorated products. Unity was hard to find; there was no question of a specific nineteenth-century style. Critics particularly condemned the superficial pursuit of effect.
In 1914 it was Kandinsky who defended the abstract form against critics who regarded abstraction as a form of decoration. He argued that the use of decorative forms posed the greatest danger to artists, because as a rule these decorations only expressed external beauty and were completely empty of content. Decorative art was additionally associated with feminine. Expressionist painters wrote impassioned essays, rejecting any association with decoration and decorative embellishment.
Around 1920, the Bauhaus made a clear distinction between high art (Kunst) such as painting and sculpture, handicrafts (Handwerk) for example the production of tapestries and applied art (Kunstgewerbe), such as weaving and ceramics. The first two categories belonged to the masculine domain, the last to the feminine. Kunstgewerbe also had a lower status. For the large group of women who applied to the Bauhaus, weaving therefore became the most important medium.
So textiles. The prints and patterns that can be found on the textiles in my house are indebted to this history.
And then about the relationship between art and decoration. Because what is art? Is it decoration, something beautiful for above the couch? Is it only the outside that counts? The theater director Peter Sellars says it all in an interview in the FD in 1998: “When nothing touches us anymore, when everything slides off the outside, we lose the ability to distinguish. It is one of the greatest evils of our time that we are fixated on the outside”.
All images are a double transfer print on handmade recycled paper, 30 x 42 cm.
The recycled paper comes from the publishing house where I work. This paper has an international sustainability label (FSC*) and is printed climate-neutral. The prints are mounted on Biotop paper. It is chlorine-free bleached and contains no optical brighteners. BioTop is also FSC certified.
*FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is the first international quality mark with strict requirements for sustainable and social forest management, supported by governments, companies and environmental organizations.