Pliable Planes: Expanded Textiles & Fibre Practices
6–8PM Friday 29 April 2022
- When 29 Apr - 17 Jul 2022
CNR OXFORD ST & GREENS RD PADDINGTON NSW 2021
WED TO FRI, 10AM–5PM; SAT TO SUN 12–5PM
+61 2 8936 0888
‘Pliable Planes: Expanded Textiles & Fibre Practices’ is a major exhibition drawing together practitioners who reimagine practices in textiles and fibre art. The project takes its title from a 1957 essay by Bauhaus artist Anni Albers that sought to rethink the use of weaving through an architectural lens and interpret textiles as fundamentally structural and endlessly mutable. Using this concept as a point of departure, the exhibition presents the work of contemporary practitioners experimenting with the boundaries of materiality, spatial fluidity, and process.
Exhibiting artists reflect on the use of textiles to chart social and cultural change, responding to historical modes of production and representation, and underlying histories of domesticity and women’s labour. Works seamlessly incorporate traditional textile approaches including weaving, embroidery, knitting, and sewing while exploring broader conceptual and aesthetic possibilities. Through expanded painting, assemblage, performative gesture, sound, video and installation, ‘Pliable Planes’ presents contemporary Australian textiles and fibre art in expansive and plural forms, altering perceptions of materials, form and function.
Curators: Karen Hall & Catherine Woolley
Presented with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts. The exhibition begins a national tour in 2023 with the support of the Australian Government's Visions of Australia program.
An accompanying publication features curatorial texts alongside newly commissioned writing from Vikki McInnes, Katie Dyer, and Sophia Cai. It further explores the conceptual and aesthetic possibilities of textiles and fibre art, positioning the work of the exhibiting artists in a wider dialogue concerning contemporary visual and material culture.
Symposium: Starting at Zero
11.00am Saturday 30 April 2022
Bauhaus artist Anni Albers had an enduring interest in the material limitations of textiles and the possibilities these constraints offered. Encouraging her students to “start at the point of zero”, she advocated for practitioners to rethink the fundamentals of textiles and then test their boundaries—her approaches to materiality
continue to influence practitioners today.
This one-day symposium brings together practitioners and thinkers to explore the vast potentials of fibre and textiles as both material and subject. The program features a keynote presentation from Antonia Syme AM, Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop, alongside a series of conversations with exhibiting artists and guest speakers. Discussions consider how contemporary artists draw on the influences of Minimalism through the grid, subvert gendered perceptions around ‘heavy craft’, and challenge notions of what constitutes textiles.
Workshop: String Making with Katie West
2.00pm Sunday 1 May 2022
Katie West is a Yindjibarndi woman based in Noongar Ballardong country (York, Western Australia), working across installation, social practice, and textiles. In this workshop, Katie introduces hand-twisted string making with repurposed fabric inspired by traditional techniques that utilise plant fibre. Katie explains, “I use fabric collected from op-shops as this is a resource readily available to me. I see it as a way to continue a kind of string making in our family, despite separation from our traditional home through Stolen Generations policy.”
2.00pm Sunday 15 May & 3 July 2022
Experience the exhibition in an intimate tactile tour led by co-curator Catherine Woolley. These tactile tours utilise touch, sound, audio description, and conversation as access tools for people who are blind, have low vision, or are interested in engaging with contemporary art in a different way.
Banner: Kate Scardifield, You Don’t Need Me To Tell You (Production Stills) 2022. Image courtesy of the artist, Sydney. Photograph: Robin Hearfield
Install Images: Installation view, ‘Pliable Planes: Expanded Textiles & Fibre Practices’, UNSW Galleries, 2022. Photography: Jacquie Manning.
1: Sarah Contos, Voltron II (Studs) 2019, Janet Fieldhouse, Armbands 2018; Armband with breast pendant 2018; Memory Series 1 (Mark II) 2014; Hybrid Basket 2019; Colour of Land IIII 2019, Teelah George, Sky Piece, falling (Melbourne, Perth) 2020 – 2021 and Jacqueline Stojanović, Concrete Fabric 2019.
2: Akira Akira, NEW PERSERVERANCE 2016-ongoing and Anne-Marie May, Unforeseen Constellations 2022.
3: John Nixon and Jacqueline Stojanović, all works Untitled 2020-2021 and Paul Knight, As Moons 2022; and Double Suns 2022.
4: Kate Scardifield, You Don’t Need Me To Tell You 2022.