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Henriette Noermark: In a Slow Manner

May 8, 2021

TLmag sat down with curator Henriette Noermark to discuss the exhibition In a Slow Manner, presented earlier this year at Maison du Danemark’s.

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The exhibition In a Slow Manner, presented earlier this year at Maison du Danemark’s new cultural platform Le Bicolore, rethought the pace and tempo of our contemporary society through the lense of textiles. Curator Henriette Noermark curated the show presenting ten artists – spanning a vast range of generations, intentions and iterations. TLmag sat down with her to discuss the experience and narrative of the show.

TLmag: The narrative of In a Slow Manner is an ode to the 1941 essay by interior decorator Anni Albers ‘Handweaving Today’, could you elaborate on the narrative?

Henriette Noermark (H.N.): In my textile research  obviously Anni Albers and Sheila Hicks are two of the artists I look to. I read Handweaving Today: Textile Work at Black Mountain College, an essay by Anni Albers,  from 1941., in which she speaks of the pace of weaving, in these beginning states of the industrialization of the weaving technique.

I began my research and curatorial approach before the pandemic, but still the topic of pace, time and weaving techniques touched a chord – and as Covid came, it seemed more important than ever to think about our decisions and the pace in which we move through life in, so it connected to the narrative and became more than just a working title. 

I wanted us to slow down, look at the materiality, tactility and make visitors take the works in and  dive into the different types of materiality presented – from a light installation and a large photo to jacquard weavings to formulas of colour. 

TLmag: How did you construct your narrative, what was your curatorial approach?

H.N.: In  my curatorial practice I am specialised in the grey zone between art and design, and always have a sense of materiality at the core. Ten years ago I read an essay by the American artist Richard Artschwager whose observation “If you sit on it, it’s a chair. If you walk around it and look at it, it is a sculpture,” made a lasting impression: Who cares whether the exhibitors’ background is in art, architecture or design – let’s look to the work and object and have them do the talking. The interesting part of their different approaches, way of working with the textile and the final work, I think.And that really varies in this exhibition – Tove Storch uses textile as a means to and end to tell her story of transparency, fragility and illusion, whereas to Sofie Genz textile is her preferred medium and the form is secondary. In this case a gorgeous installation comprising three square 50×50 elements stacked on top of each other. I chose the eight Danish and two French artist to give a glimpse of that engagement with textile, from someone who is really geeking out on textile tosomeone who uses textile merely for a conceptual purpose. 

TLmag: Did you take away anything from the experience?

H.N.: What was important to me was to curate an exhibition of abstract works with intention which I thought had a great impact on textile art right now. A snapshot which, however, is anything but temporary. I could have included fashion and furniture design, but deliberately chose to focus on the conceptual, aesthetic language of the artist objects rather than going into a discussion about production and season-based angles of the topic. 

 In terms ofmy personal thoughts on climate change, I think that we should look into this in a wider context. Kristine Harperwrites about what she calls aesthetic sustainability which is a topic I have been working with for  years as a backdrop, a note to self, in my exhibitions.Most of the pieces in In A Slow Manner are chosen for their aesthetic value. 

TLmag: Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers?

H.N.: The invitation by the Danish embassy in France and Maison du Danemark to curate the first exhibition in their new programme was a dream come true and I have truly enjoyed this open invitation to give an insight into Danish textile art – obviously, with Covid-19 interfering, the doors hasn’t been as open and inviting as one would have hoped, but I feel I showed my take on the matter and can’t wait to proceed with the research in this field and hopefully show the exhibition in new forms and settings moving forward.

In a Slow Manner was presented at Maison du Danemark’s new cultural platform Le Bicolore located on the Champs-Elysées from the 3rd of February 3 until March 28, 2021.

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