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Kustaa Saksi : Herbarium of Dreams

Kustaa Saksi will be exhibiting seven of his recent tapestries with Spazio Nobile Gallery during Collectible 21st Century Design at the Vanderborght Building, Brussels, from 7 until 11 March.

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Text by Lise Coirier
Photography by Jussi Tiainen

The Amsterdam-based Finnish graphic storyteller, textile artist and designer Kustaa Saksi creates and innovates with the Jacquard weave, generating all kinds of textile art and installations. He has already exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, the TextielMuseum and Kunsthall Stavanger as well as in galleries in New York, Paris, London, Helsinki, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and more. His commissioned artworks are for clients such as Nike, Issey Miyake, Ferragamo, Lacoste, Marimekko and Swedese.With his large tapestries—all produced in limited editions of six or eight— made of mohair, alpaca, merino wools, phosphorescent yarns, cotton, viscose, acrylic and lurex, he opens the door into his fantastical and esoteric wonderland. The transformation of his view of nature into textiles leads to a very intense visualisation of all kinds of allegories. He knows no limits in his textile research, performed on weaving machines at TextielLab, associated with TextielMuseum Tilburg in the Netherlands. The machines make up a kind of tableau vivant where he explores diverse craft techniques. His collection Hypnopompic is a voyage into his imaginative and imaginary botanic gardens that are full of seeds, wild insects and hypnotic animals like the owls you can often find in the Nordic art and design iconography. Another recent series, Reveille, explores living elements and animals in a more abstract way, including through texture and tactility. Even more wild and exotic, the Woolgathering collection maximises the effect of masks and battlefields and explores an extraordinary abyss.
TLmag had the opportunity to discuss this playful and colourful world of wonders with Saksi as an introduction to his upcoming exhibition at Spazio Nobile in March 2018 for Collectible and at the gallery space in 2019. The transformation and perception of space for the occasion will be a challenge in itself.


TLmag: How would you define your connection as Finnish textile artist and designer to contemporary Asian aesthetics?

Kustaa Saksi: I think the desire to understand and respect nature and its creative forms might be one of the strongest links between Finnish and Asian aesthetics. In my work, I tend to blend and confuse cultural aesthetics and form something unexpected.


TLmag: You have raised graphic design and especially illustration to another level. What brought you to study and explore contemporary textiles, prints and patterns in such an unusual way? In short, could you guide us into your world of inspirations?

K.S.: I make patterns, shapes, textures, ornaments, figures and repeats that I organise for controlled compositions on a variety of surfaces, weavings, textiles and installations. Ideas of nature seen from the abstracted edge of perception pervade all of my work. I’m interested in visual delusions and dreams happening in borderlands between wakefulness and sleep. The results often take the form of tapestries, rugs, installations or fabrics.


TLmag: Do you believe that tapestry is making a comeback in the contemporary interiors?
K.S.: You can tell it’s already having its renaissance and that there is a lot of interest in innovative textile in both the art and consumer contexts.

Kustaa Saksi will be exhibiting his recent tapestries with Spazio Nobile Gallery during Collectible 21st Century Design at the Vanderborght Building, Brussels,  from 07.03 to -11.03 2018, on booth 2.9 on the second floor. Phantasmagoria is a group show with Laetitia Bica, Chen & Williams, Alexia de Ville, Kaspar Hamacher, Isaac Monté, Kustaa Saksi, Bela Silva and Frederik Vercruysse. 

Kustaa Saksi will be exhibiting his recent tapestries at Spazio Nobile Gallery during Collectible 21st Century Design at the Vanderborght Building, Brussels, 7-11 March 2018.

In 2019, Spazio Nobile will feature Kustaa Saksi alongside a selection of Finnish designers.

Herbarium Of Dreams, Jacquard Weave, Mohair Wool, Polyamide, Acryl Lurex, 170 x 243 cm, ed. 6, 2013
Herbarium Of Dreams, Jacquard Weave, Mohair Wool, Polyamide, Acryl Lurex, 170 x 243 cm, ed. 6, 2013
Arbor Vitae, Jacquard Weave, Mohair Wool, Acryl,, 170 x 245 cm, ed. 6, 2013
Arbor Vitae, Jacquard Weave, Mohair Wool, Acryl,, 170 x 245 cm, ed. 6, 2013
Kustaa Saksi & IC-98, A World in Waiting, rug in Jacquard weave with encapsulated seeds for Collecting Europe at V&A Museum in London, UK
Kustaa Saksi & IC-98, A World in Waiting, rug in Jacquard weave with encapsulated seeds for Collecting Europe at V&A Museum in London, UK
Hypnopompic exhibition, Korjaamo Gallery, Helsinki, FI, 2013
Hypnopompic exhibition, Korjaamo Gallery, Helsinki, FI, 2013
In the Fish Trap, Jacquard Weave, Mohair Wool, Merino Wool, 170 x 243 cm, ed.6, 2013
In the Fish Trap, Jacquard Weave, Mohair Wool, Merino Wool, 170 x 243 cm, ed.6, 2013
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