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HARD/SOFT: Textiles and Ceramics in Contemporary Art
Curated by Bärbel Vischer & Antje Prisker, Organized by MAK Museum Vienna, Vienna. December 2023-May 2024.

HARD/SOFT: Textiles and Ceramics in Contemporary Art brings together two seemingly contrasting materials.

While textiles are associated with warmth and flexibility, ceramics formed from soft clay radiate a cool fragility. Yet both media bring to life an aesthetic language that shifts between hard, soft, unwieldy, and flowing. The materials, shapes, and significance of the selected works reveal a broad spectrum of ambiguity, vagueness, and simultaneity.

The exhibition showcases the work of around 40 artists from Austria and all over the globe, whose artistic practice draws on craft techniques such as embroidery, knotting, and weaving, as well as sculpting, wedging, and firing. The sculptures, installations, and painted works, which also include embroidered images, patchworks, and tapestries, show a vast range of artistic and interdisciplinary approaches that combine visual and applied arts, architecture, music, and digital space. These pieces offer an insight into production methods, ateliers, and workshops, as well as cross-disciplinary collaboration. Here textiles and ceramics hold cultural significance for communities; they have become intertwined with economic and political systems. Alongside the materials’ characteristic features, the exhibition considers feminist ideas, explorations of the body, questions of cultural appropriation as well as gender stereotyping.

Artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Hildegard Absalon, El Anatsui, Anna Andreeva, Ranti Bam, Maria Biljan-Bilger, Cosima von Bonin, Geta Brătescu, Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Verena Dengler, Noa Eshkol, Gelatin, Sonia Gomes, Nilbar Güreş, Sheila Hicks, Klára Hosnedlová, Dorota Jurczak, Kapwani Kiwanga, Peter Kogler, Beate Kuhn, Denisa Lehocká, Goshka Macuga, Jonathan Meese, Hana Miletić, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Robert Morris, Ann Muller, Ulrike Müller, Michèle Pagel, Lucie Rie, Willem de Rooij, Camila Sposati, Laurence Sturla, Dorothea Tanning, Rosemarie Trockel, Franz Erhard Walther, Ingrid Wiener.


Red, Old Woman (2014)

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