Go & See Bursaries: Deborah Campbell visit to the Rijswijk Textile Biennial


Forming part of our professional development strand, the Go & See travel bursaries aim to assist professional artists and makers to visit events and exhibitions outwith the region that are relevant to the development of their practice.

This report was written by Deborah Campbell

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Paul Yore ‘Let us Not Die from Habit’
Paul Yore ‘Let us Not Die from Habit’

Rijswijk Textile Biennial
Rijswijk Museum, Herenstraat 67, Rijswijk, The Hague, Netherlands

Rijswijk Museum gallery

Rijswijk Museum garden and workshop area

The Rijswijk Museum in The Netherlands hosted it’s 6th Rijswijk Textile Biennial this year from 18 June to 6 October.

The Rijswijk Museum each year puts textiles at the forefront of contemporary art and gives textiles a platform as a valid means of artistic expression, lessoning the gap that still exists between craft and fine art.

The exhibition was a unique opportunity to view the work of 22 internationally renowned textile artists from around the world.

The artwork demonstrated a huge diversity of textile materials and techniques with artists creating very innovative work using various combinations of weaving, knitting, hand stitching, machine embroidery, photography and digital print.

Although often using very traditional textile methods the artists on exhibition were tackling very current and contemporary issues.

Entering one of the main galleries there was no avoiding the large work of Australian artist Paul Yore whose textile titled ‘Let us Not Die from Habit’ is a huge 2-dimensional collage made from every kind of scrap material meticulously joined through stitch. As an activist his work is a protest and comment on many current political and social injustices.

Paul Yore detail of ‘Let us Not Die from Habit’

An artist who I was particularly drawn to was Paula do Prado. An artist who originates from Uruguay and now lives and works in Australia. Her work draws on materials, experiences and stories from her past family history tackling current issues of immigration and multiculturalism. She works with traditional and non-traditional craft techniques combined with all sorts of collected materials like glass and wooden beads, wire, wool, cotton rope and twine to create complex and intriguing wire wall sculptures.

Paula do Prado

In contrast Monika Supe’s work was a beautiful collection of 3-dimensional wire drawings created in space. She uses crocheting, knitting and sewing in her works using fine wire that shows clearly the intricate process of her craft. A clever use of lighting creates a further dimension to her work as soft shadows of her sculptures are cast against the white walls.

Monika Supe

These artists demonstrate a small sample of the diversity that was on show at the Textile Biennial, it was an incredibly exciting exhibition with a high level of skill on show in the applied arts and proves that textiles today have a voice and an important place in the world of contemporary art.

The opportunity to go and see this number of textile artists working at an international level has been hugely inspirational, offering a fascinating insight into new methods and approaches to textiles. From a technical point of view, I was intrigued to see how these artists used textile techniques to create often quite monumental pieces of art. I’m looking for this to have a significant impact in the professional development of my own textile practice as I take steps to create larger works.