HANDICARFT Material and Symbolism

03. March 2013 to 25. August 2013

The many manifestations of handicraft in art – as a historical subject, a subversive strategy or staged materiality – are the focus of this exhibition. Framed as a pointed dialogue between historical and current artistic practices, the show traces an associative arc from the 19th century to the present.

Whether we think of fisherwomen knitting in the dunes or of men mending nets at the harbour, handiworks long played an important role in life at the seaside. With industrialisation, handicraft lost its original function as a livelihood, yet at the same time took hold as a middle-class leisure activity. In the 1970s and 1980s, artists such as Rosemarie Trockel and Alighiero e Boetti rid needlework of its reputation as a wholesome activity for women through subversive and political works. And handicraft is experiencing an on-going renaissance in the art of today as well. Central to this revival is the transgression of social und art historical conventions. Abstract or representational, art or craft, female or male – not exclusively textile-based, the practices presented in this exhibition subvert those categories and reveal new relationships.

Artists: Alighiero e Boetti, David Artz, Birgit Dieker, Otto Heinrich Engel, Julius Exner, Jochen Flinzer, Edgar Honetschläger, Viggo Johansen, Isa Melsheimer, Abigail O’Brien and Mary A. Kelly, Wilhelm Peters, Judith Samen, Yinka Shonibare, Laura Splan, Annette Streyl, Rosemarie Trockel.