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The Matter of Material : A Conference to coincide with the exhibition ‘Entangled: Threads and Making’

It is now almost 35 years since Sarat Maharaj asked the question ‘Textile Art- Who Are You?’, describing textile art as  “‘undecidable’…something that seems to belong to one genre but overshoots its border and seems no less at home in another. Belongs to both, we might say, by not belonging to either.” It is an even longer period of time since Eva Hesse confused the New York art world in the 1960’s with works combining cloth and thread. Since then, cloth as a narrative voice has threaded its way through feminism and political activism, from marginalisation to surety in its strength and appropriateness.

Textiles and textile thinking, as the medium of choice for art works, have featured in mixed exhibitions and exhibitions of specific material focus throughout the world, with the Kaunus Biennale currently leading the way in radical readings of textile and art. Featuring 10 new works and over 40 international artists, ‎‘Entangled: Threads and Making’ brings together a group of 20th century pioneers of textiles, tapestry and design alongside contemporary artists who incorporate similar materials and processes in their work.

The Conference ‘The Matter of Material’ will discuss the use of fabric in art, how textile can be seen as a piece of beautifully designed cloth; as contributing to the expanded field of textile art; or be appropriated for a particular work. Cloth is a universal material we love it and understand it, yet we overlook, and sometimes dismiss it as (im)material. Conference organisers invite submissions from different practices that reflect on, and about, the importance of the material in art, viewed from an historical and a contemporary perspective.

Particularly welcome are submissions from Post-Graduate Research students and early Post-Doctoral researchers.

Deadline for Abstracts of no more than 300 words for a 20 minute paper: 8th January 2017. 

To be sent jointly to:

Professor Lesley Millar:

Beverly Ayling-Smith:

Entangled: Threads and Making, curated by Karen Wright, is conceived specially for Turner Contemporary, where it will run from 28 January to 7 May 2017.