ICA: Fiber Sculpture 1960 – Present

They say ignorance is bliss – and it is. My trip to the Boston ICA was no less enlightening than an epiphany. It not only validated what textiles as an art form could be, but also assured that textiles can, in fact, touch people’s hearts like Joan Miró and Arvo Pärt. Without the latter, art no longer has meaning.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this exhibit, mostly because of my ignorance. The only thing I knew, having heard what Anne Wilson mentioned when she visited the studio earlier in October, was that it would be a bizarre space where time has no significance; it would be an archive of a wide range of exemplary pieces over the last few decades. It turned out that the bizarre space was, in fact, filled with treasures thoughtfully created by those who, despite the peggiorative mainstream view on textile as “not art worthy,” succeeded in establishing it as an art form. Their resilient efforts lead and inspired the following generations to use textile as the medium of their art, and now we, the younglings, are resting on them.

What is breathtaking: The scale of them all as nuanced by the title of the exhibit. Every piece is meticulously conceptualized and executed, and it should naturally be so. Yet, the sheer size (volume) of the pieces are beautifully overwhelming. It is a rhetorical oxymoron to to say that textiles are overwhelming because textiles, by their characteristics, would never register to me as something that could possibly be “overwhelming.” Most of the pieces interact with the space, which transcends them from being mere sculptures to interactive arts, in my opinion. It is unfortunate that I had to succumb to the hard gaze of the guards except my favorite, SoundWay by Ernesto Neto.

I have searched the internet to show you a few pieces from the exhibit that I felt fond of. If you haven’t gone to the exhibit, it will be on view until January 4th, 2015. Make sure to go experience it!



Crocheted Environment by Faith Wilding



Inchworm by Françoise Grossen



Banisteriopsis II by Sheila Hicks



Élément Spatial by Elsi Giauque



Kunoyuki by Kay Sekimachi



Soundway by Ernesto Neto




Sistah Paradise’s Great Wall of Fire Tent by Xenobia Bailey


Image references:

Hand Eye Magazine

Boston Globe

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