= hand weaving + fiber arts et similia

the cover and the pages of Olga Morales Mantilla (Columbia)
FOTOTESSERE, how and why (1998)

Fototessere is a collection of 157 photocopies coming from everywhere in Italy, -some are also coming from other countries. A piece of hand-woven cloth has been photocopied on each sheet of paper. Naturally, there is only to be seen that part of the woven cloth that corresponds with the size of the sheet of papeer. These are not antiques textíls, but all of them are recent, made by many weavers, beig more or less prestigious artists, more or less respected craftmen, non professionals, chìldren, handicapped persons etc. In thís collection you will find photocopies of every type and by every type, nothing has been eliminated that arríved at the Coordinamento Tessitori (Weavers' Connection).
When all these photocopies constitute an Exhibition() and are collected in a Book, they will form a body, a kind of living individual. This grotesque índividual cannot paticularly appear attractive, ít surely wears a motley, but in the end it will tell us that handweaving also lives in italy. This ís interesting, because too many still believe that the art of hand-weaving has been estinguished and it has survived only in the secluded "reservations of traditional handcraft".
Who wants to know more about the secret life of hand-weaving (or about the male/female weavers) should read the work of Zavattonì dealing with the questionaries printed on the back page of every photocopy. Perhaps not all the facts are true because in "Italy having línked Europe" the authentical handcraft is practically illegal. So one should concede to the weavers the extenuating circumstances concerning crimes committed for passion or various ethical-socio-political motives (you may decide, Mr. Judge).
Perhaps it ìs necessary to defend Fototessere wíth esthetical evidences. Fírst of all, we can say that an exhibition of works sent by mail is nothing else than Mail Art. We can add that ìf the medium is a photocopy machine, it is Copy Art. But bere there is a further estrangement that is caused by the cást of a textile whose touch is actually missíng. With respect to the absolutely indiscriminate reports, one. can say it is one of the most current practíces in Contemporary Art. Specially, the order of the photocopies obeying the postal arrival can be evaluated as Surrealist Collage. If some pieces are really ugly... one can call it even Trash Art. Who still wants to object to its professional character, may remember l'Art brut. Naturally, one can ascribe to this monstruous work any Conceptual intention (etc. etc. etc.)
But, alas! once we admit the existence of Art, is it still necessary to demonstrate that handweaving is also art? There are exhibitions of
Textile Art, so Fototessere finally could be an exhibition of textile art, even if the partecipation of the artists is absolutely free of charge. The only strange thing (except the free of charge partecipation) ìs the rigorous exclusion of any Off-Ioom Fiber Art (). Plainly, we were curious to see something new, so that we sought it somewhere else. Anyway, everybody can ìnclude Fototessere (National Exhibition + Book!) in his curriculum.
I líke to conclude with a personal remark. The strongest emotion caused by this exhibition does not arise from its show on the stage, but arises from the big play preceding this mise en scene. I felt reminded of
the campaigns of Amnesty, which inondate remote dietators with innumerable letters. Everywhere, many and different indíviduals made photocopies. of their personal works at various stationers, they went to various post offices and set their personal message away. Only few of them were refined "photocopists", many did perform this art for the first time. Perhaps, they will continue...

Luciano Ghersi, 1998

() "Filo lungo filo..." Villaggio Leumann Collegno (I - TO) september 1998 / (UP to text)

()Off-loom works are allowed to entry in "FotoTessere2... THE WEB". / (UP to text)

FotoTessere2 ...THE WEBthe exhibit is on


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