The Gift To Be Simple celebrates textile creativity
Curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano, the contemporary design exhibition ‘The Gift To Be Simple’ will be on view from October 2, 2022, until October 10, 2022, as part of the 7th annual New York Textile Month. The display brings together the textile-based works of nine Belgian women with passion, whose oeuvre discover excellence in day-to-day items. Rich in materials, textiles, colors, and patterns, the show is dedicated to the know-how of the past, welcoming the future with experimental approaches. The results celebrate textile creativity while exploring the sobriety of Belgian design and its correlation with a more refined aesthetic today.
Clareira, 2021, Stipa Gigantea, thread linen, 173 x 115 x 51 cm, Clareira © Emma cogné – Photo Jenna Duffy
an intrinsic link between huMan-made and Nature
The Gift To Be Simple will host various types of textile creations, including art installations, upholstered furniture, tapestries, household items, raffia objects, carpets, and tables. The multiple location event is a conjunction of different expressions and nuances with a shared love of textiles that incarnate an inherent sense of simplicity, quality, and originality.
‘The visual and tactile experiences of textile designs are the iceberg tip of how they have come to life. From the past
to the present day, textiles have literally been part of the Belgian landscape. For centuries the northern part of the country has been the perfect place to cultivate flax, its bright green stems giving way to a sea of blue flowers,’ shares Belgium Is Design, an institution that promotes Belgian design around the world. ‘Like many European countries the pressures of global economics have hit Belgium’s textile industry, yet although there are no more spinning factories, linen production is very much alive in the farming of the raw materials, fibre processing and weaving. However, it would be misleading to think that linen was the only thread in the Belgian textile maze. Belgium’s association with textiles is an evolving story.’© Emma cogné – Photo Jenna Duffy
transition to a circular economy
Belgium is a country that supports a circular economy in the textile industry. According to Belgium Is Design, local initiatives by the Centexbel research center explore the sustainability of textiles on an industrial scale, while in Liège, the TexLab emerges as a place of creation for designers and professionals. The Gift To Be Simple is an artistic hub for traditional ideas of Belgian textile design, from furniture or wall hangings to art installations. Atmosphere & Bois is another Belgian company focused on the rehabilitation of reclaimed woods that utilizes the beauty of the aged for the purpose of construction and decoration.
‘In chaotic and fearful times, humanity will naturally look for answers and find solace in simplicity. People are trying to make the ordinary extraordinary,’ shared Lidewij Edelkoort. Untitled © Céline Vahsen
a meeting of various expressions and nuances
The event portrays a sequence of everyday objects, developing a trend towards more textiles and emotional tactility within the new home. Through The Gift To Be Simple, the nine talented women weave their own narratives under a common denominator: textile fondness.
‘The honesty of natural materials is expressed by a new generation of Belgian designers, such as in an intriguing wild fiber rug by Emma Cogné or humble paper strips that are woven into wall hangings by Alexia De Ville. Geneviève Levivier, also expresses a connection to the essence of nature, mixed with poetry and prose, via lace-like felts and delicate sculptural works. The pertinence of still lifes today is also represented in the show, evident in the
archetypical design of Pascale Risbourg or the unbridled fantasy of soft curiosities and crafted rugs by Natalia Brilli. The muted palettes that Belgium is so renowned for permeate the installation, including the sensitive hues in panels and rugs by Céline Vahsen. Wellness forms part of our daily lives, such as in the ritual of cleaning, captured in woven bath products by Vanessa Colignon. Meanwhile, handcraft techniques inspire Charlotte Lancelot, such as in her linen bed quilts or a neutral knotted rug for Gan Rugs. Similar in approach is a round rug by Laure Kasiers; beautifully modest, like a brown paper package tied up with string.’