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Van Hoe Collection: Weaving through Visual Language

Jun 16, 2020

Even though the book only presents a small part of its extensive collection, the Van Hoe Collection’s latest publication, “Grammar of Textiles”, connects the relationship between craftsmanship, visual art and design with textile’s rich history.

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“With this collection, I attempt to clarify that these are not only textile designs. There is a lot more to it than that: making links to developments in the fields of art, culture and politics is only logical and at least as important. My collection seeks above all to stimulate curiosity when reading (or learning to read) images.” Marc Van Hoe

Winner of the Henry van de Velde Award in 2010 and a well-known textile designer and artist in his own right, Belgian artist Marc Van Hoe has always been a passionate creator and collector and of all things textile. Travelling around the world for his work — from Belgium to Uzbekistan, China, North America, Mexico and Brazil — he has been searching for and collecting textile items, whether that be the smallest sketches and samples to more extravagant textile designs and weaves. These travels were not merely for gaining inspiration for his own professional work, but for gaining insight to another form of contextualising culture and history — specifically in relation to the meaning of the craft of weaving in general and to textile design in particular.

Throughout the over 100 pages within “The Van Hoe Collection: Grammar of Textiles”, Van Hoe not only represents a broad range of textiles and styles (the selection mainly contains textile designs, in part weaves and a number of rare books from the period from 1830 to 1990) — but also goes into a conversation with them in his text and new work (of which the newest iteration is his Frozen Garden series). It’s clear that, in this case, collecting is not merely safekeeping: it is keeping their spirit alive — thus collecting becomes conversing, tracing becomes scanning and pigment becomes pixel. In turn, his work is inextricably linked with this cross-pollination between the artist, the textile creator and the collector.

“The collection brought together in this book is a forum for myself, a sort of sanctuary. Many drawings are pure strength, bearing the time and the creative energy of that time with them. It’s also the same as simultaneously digging through my own archive of designs and drawings; important, they nourish new periods of creation. Reviewing, discovering, understanding.” Marc van Hoe

Featuring a separate booklet that allows readers to enjoy some of the finer details of his collection, the book also contains rigorous texts from textile and fashion historian Mireille Houtzager, Honorary Director from Design Flanders Johan Valcke as well as curator of the Horta Museum Benjamin Zurstrassen. Their texts reflect on the complicated journey (in both time and space) in which different people – usually separately from each other – are involved when it comes to textile-making, and show how each movement influences the one that came before it.

‘The Van Hoe Collection: Grammar of Textiles” is available here. Additionally, the exhibition “Secrets of the Studio“ at Horta Museum in Brussels — which will be on view until September 27th— shows a selection of 60 works from the Van Hoe Collection.




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