Artist: Indrė Spitrytė
Curator: Cláudia Melo
Artistic residency in: Contextile 2022 – Guimarães
Partner: Ideias Emergentes
City / Country: Guimarães, Portugal
The possibility of a new perspective
Indrė Spitrytė, (b. 1994, Lithuania) participated as an international artist in the MagiC Carpets residency, which was part of the program of the 6th edition of Contextile 2022– Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art in Portugal.
As an artist, she is interested in the possibilities of integrating unconventional and sustainable materials into the artwork, acting as an experimentalist with new materials that are environmentally friendly, and in some cases, can even be grown or made at home.
It was proposed for her to base his project on the concept of the biennial itself, namely Re-Make, Dialogues for a Textile Culture, considering our confrontation with the world, and imagining the willingness to re-make, based on the critical thinking. This condition evoked dialogues, provoked questions as well as resulted in one acting in mutatis mutandis.
The questions that arose were as follows: Are the new manifestations of this “doing” capable of giving a new meaning to acts and thoughts?
Textile and art are presented as an action and reaction to time and space, in response to the political and social conditions, as an alchemical body, reacting to stimuli, such as fiction or fantasized reality and new elements imagined, as an experimental medium attentive to the new ecologies of production.
The residency took place in Convento dos Capuchos in Guimarães, Portugal, an old convent built in the 17th century, which was later transformed into the city’s hospital, which is now a vacant space, occupied by all artistic residents (with studios and exhibition space) of the Contextile’s biennial.
The residency process began with a reconnaissance of the textile territory, through a series of visits to the city, to entities and institutions related to Indrė Spitrytė’s artistic approach, such as textile factories and the Landscape Laboratory in Guimarães.
This residence considers the involvement of two communities. On the one hand, the community made up of nine artists from various parts of the world for the Contextile 2022 residencies, who inhabited the same exhibition and workspace – Convento dos Capuchos, sharing ideas and work processes, discussing concepts, experiences or more pragmatic research. On the other hand, the involvement and collaboration with the users of the elderly homes from Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Guimarães.
They are characterized as a group of elderly people, retired, with some mobility and /or cognitive difficulties. Here, life almost always consisted of hard work and was somehow related to textiles, which is to say, related to the territory of Guimarães and textile culture par excellence.
The first rapport with the communities in the nursing home was based on a joint session to present and explain the intention of the project, with the participation of the elderly, artists, curator and technicians from the nursing home as indispensable mediators.
Through a challenge that brings together ideas based on emotions and their materialization in words, Indrė Spitrytė invited communities to write and exchange postcards with the people they would like to send words of affection to. The words were joined by drawings made with cotton and jute threads, pieces of fabric forgotten in the factories, small strips of ribbons bought at the local haberdashery. Then, the process of circulation on the sensorial plane began, an opening of each one before the other.
Memories are activated by the touch of hands in contact with the pieces of textile. After all, drawing and writing are on the same plane of realization. Both configure here the principle of a relational aesthetic, provoking a collective sensitivity, sustaining the idea of art as a space of permutations, understood as the beginning of a process for “the work of art” where the other is essential for the materialization of the artistic object in becoming.
When she familiarized herself with the community and its life stories, the artist challenged the community to create a collective tapestry reaffirming the textile and its inherent role in the collective work as a vehicle for joint construction.
For Spitrytė, people’s relationship with personal objects is also important, even more so with the objects that they were once able to produce in an artisanal way, with the specific imperfections of craftsmanship.
The artist asked the community for embroidered cloths and wraps, in cotton thread crochet, quilts, sheets and bedspreads made with patience that only the human hand knows how to operate. She was interested in the impregnated object, full of stories and memories, composed of layers that are no longer just those of the material that composes it, but those that have been clinging to them due to the passage of time and use.
Thus are the new aesthetic conditions of the surfaces of objects – the epidermis supervenes. And so they reveal themselves as the first cycle of change – that of the transfer of ownership, for the possibility of the beginning of another new cycle.
This is revealed by the questioning of materiality and a repositioning and behavior of objects in relation to ourselves and the world.
The artist questions the changes we are able to bring to our practices, going against the old processes, bringing new forms of materiality with sustainable and harmless procedures to ecosystems. It finds an answer in the reuse of objects and in biomaterial, through an experimental, almost laboratory practice.
The crocheted quilt is now retailed and multiple shapes are generated from just one symbolic collective.
The shapes transform once more. Another layer of natural coloring is added to them. The hand also operates once more – it gives it modeling which is then stiffened by natural substances – algae-based bioplastics, which here are vehicle-material and more than that, are indicators for a change in behavior, a return to the natural environment, the search and affirmation of processes that configure new surfaces, new behaviors and new practices. An appeal to the possibility of a new perspective.
Text written by Cláudia Melo, Curator
Vilnius Academy of Arts / Bachelor of Design/Costume Design / 2013–2017
Vilnius Academy of Arts / Master of Arts/Textile Art Media / 2020–2022
Estonian Academy of Arts / Erasmus+ semester / Accessory Design / 2021–2022
Technical label of the artwork:
Indrė Spitrytė, Lithuania
New perspective, 2022
Old handmade textiles that were collected from the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Guimarães
community; plant-based bioplastic; linen, jute, cotton threads; textile industry leftovers
Cooking bioplastics, hand weaving, braiding