‘From Lausanne To Beijing’ 9th International Fiber Art Biennale

‘From Lausanne To Beijing’ 9th International Fiber Art Biennale

While I was drafting in my mind posts about historians who love to tell stories, and families who loved printing books, and poets who were actually earning money, all somewhere in the far past, the message from the organizers of the 9th International Fiber Art Biennale ‘From Lausanne To Beijing’ arrived. My submission has been honoured; four works belonging to the series ‘continents’ will be part of this fantastic exhibition. This is part of the announcement:

“221 excellent artworks (104 from China and 117 from overseas), which make approx 23% of the entire entry, are juried in for display at the upcoming Exhibition. (入选作品221件(中国104件,国外117件),总入选率约为23%)”

It is the third time that I participate with my textile works in this biennale. The first time, in 2012, I took the trip too, to Nantong, some hundred kilometers from Shanghai. It was a bliss to see the exhibition, but also to be treated with real honour and abundant hospitality. Of course meeting so many artists busy with textile was also a mind opener. This time the exhibition will take place in Shenzhen, a dreamtime modern city. It is close to Hong Kong; does this make the trip easier, I wonder. Anyhow, I am tempted to go, but then I need to find a sponsor very soon.

In the meantime, I will pack and send the works within the coming days. Updates will be coming here and on Atelier Kapnos fb page.





From Lausanne to Beijing – 8th International Fiber Art Biennale

September 30—December 16, 2014 
From Lausanne to Beijing 8th International Fiber Art Biennale 
1895 creative cultural industry park
Nantong (Jiangsu Province)

The works are already hanging, the organisers are making the last arrangements for the official opening today, 30 September at 3:00 p.m. East China time (about 9:00 a.m. CET). I won’t be there this time; will have to wait patiently for news from co-exhibitors and the catalogue after the end of the exhibition together with the return my works. The exhibition is of course  certain to be big again, but not exhausting I must say. The former factory where it is held is something like the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam or the Technopolis-Gazi in Athens.

But here is a part of the forward from the organisers*:

“…Since 2000, “From Lausanne to Beijing” international fiber art exhibition has been held for 7 sessions which has come through 14 years. It has gradually become an international well-known brand with a development pattern of popularization, socialization and internationalization…

…There are 655 pieces of artwork applying for the 8th  Biennale (including 363 works from China and  292 works from other countries).  186 pieces of artwork were admitted into the ‘From Lausanne to Beijing’ 8th International Fiber Art Biennale Exhibition(including 75 works form China and  111 works from other countries. In 2014, with the invitation of the Nantong government, the 8th biennale will still be held in 1895 creative cultural industry park in Nantong City…”

I volunteer for tele-transportation! (…have been volunteering since the 80’s in vain…)

Patience promotes!

* organization: Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University People’s government of Nantong Fiber Art Committee, China Arts & Crafts Association Fiber art institute of China National Academy of Painting

The photos are from the previous edition of the Biennale; once I have new photos or news I will publish them as well.



Nantong_2012_main hall entrance view
Nantong_2012_main hall entrance view
detail of a stupendous embroidered work by Chang YoungRan from Korea
detail of a stupendous embroidered work by Chang YoungRan from Korea

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textile as art – mama’s arts

Regarding the Symposium during the 7th “from Lausanne to Beijing” Fiber Art Biennale: two panel discussions with fiber art experts from China, Korea, Japan, Australia, US and Poland. I had expected presentations from countries with images and information about the practice, something more like a conference, but hey, let’s get the best of what is offered. The discussions went about changes in the textile art practice including the spreading uniformity concept wise, decrease of the sizes of the works, incorporation of other materials and methods and a unanimous observation that visual artists have stepped well on board of the textile world.

I don’t know how much this is news, since I come from the fine arts field. I did realize though that by textile art they mainly meant until recently weaving or fabric dying/making without (or rather not) excluding functional pieces. In the same concept, moving away from tapestry is accepted with a question/ exclamation mark. Whereas in our own first attempt to show textile art under the “geborgen kamers” project, the direction chosen was clearly away from functionality; only pure art pieces  were shown at “mama’s arts” exhibition back in 2008. Then, it was a burning idea that created the show; now, having seen quite a few big textile art shows and with the recent experience in Nantong, I want to thank again the artists of “mama’s arts”. It was a top exhibition; some of the artists are well known, some I see in exhibitions around the world, some through social media; some I have lost but hope to work with them again. An idea is starting sparkling, but now we have to find the space too. The old pharmacy and old butchery at the outskirts of The Hague were given to commercial users sometime at the beginning of 2012.

P.S. The printable version of the “mama’s arts” catalogue was lost in a laptop crash. The few copies printed then are actually collector’s items. Luckily, the e-version survived and is downloadable: mama’s arts catalogue e-version

mama's arts opening
mama’s arts opening
mama's arts - in the butchery
mama’s arts – in the butchery
mama's arts - butchery freezer
mama’s arts – butchery freezer
mama's arts - in the pharmacy
mama’s arts – in the pharmacy
mama's arts - book corner
mama’s arts – book corner

























































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Leaving Nantong and the opposite of innocence

The shock of the new (…) was replaced by the shock of the opposite of innocence. Simply by changing location suddenly from curiosity I became a tourist; a naive prawn for those working hard to earn on foolish non alert “others”. The first hit happened at Pudong airport where the organised by our hosts buses dropped everyone off. Many would travel away but I had to go in the city. A young woman with a tag “Nancy-airport” saw on me a moment of hesitation and approached me offering a taxi for only 550 Yuan; she would call, taxi would come, fixed price, receipt, no tip…as I was nearly dreaming I went along for a while until I could calculate in my mind what was this amount. Then by mentioning numbers I somehow confused her and that gave me the chance to say “no that’s too much” and turned away. Only then I realised that this is the scam that is mentioned everywhere in the guides and is told by every one that has travelled to China. OK, Westerners, no need to feel superior. In a more or less obvious way, foreigners become prey in your countries too; only when we are at home we can not know that; the “others” do.

Anyway, I took an official taxi that cost me 170 Yuan. On the way, I relived a sequence of dreadful feelings that I had gone through at a young age. Leaving a protected environment is a liberation; I always prefer to be independent and do my own plan, but then my energy is also spent in building a barrack around me. So, innocence finished around and inside; I had to put the heavy face on (and that hurts!).

My hotel in Shanghai is close to People’s square; a very good one. I actually can see the Shanghai Museum from my window on the 12th floor. At the reception I was told that it is 15 minutes walk to the museum but it is much less. Gush, Shanghai is a huge city! Seventeen million people and it shows! I walked down there to find my own familiarity, inside a museum, but without luck. Outside the big museum there was a queue, but anyway I was looking for the contemporary art museum called MOCA; no luck there neither as it is showing Finnish design and photography which I do not need to see now. To top that, three youngsters, including one girl, asked me to take a picture of them in front of the garden flowers, with their camera. Then they started making questions and finally asked if I wanted to join them at the opening of the tea ceremony festival where they were going. How many times I have heard this story already? I said I was busy and left, but my mood was shattered. I walked around the square which is in fact an area packed with anything you can imagine; and trees. It did not take long to decide that I had nothing to find there and turned back to walk opposite direction to the Yuyuan market, a bazaar really Chinese; with red decorations for the new year, decorations for Christmas (even a full Xmas tree!), the plastic toys that go around also in Europe, plenty of fabrics, ribbons, faux jewellery and of course food; all in big quantities in a very tight space. I walked further and further in this labyrinth. It was impossible to get the big picture of the area so I focused on details; just to find my way back to my shelter. Word of the day, without looking at the book: “barricades”

These pictures are details of works of the 7th “From Lausanne to Beijing” Fiber Art Biennale, Nantong.

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Last day in Nantong

What a day! A total contradiction to what textile art promotes, which is peace. It was raining all night and the morning was dark and misty, so much that I had to wear my glasses to see clearly in the distance. I walked, having a few hours free of any programmed plans, towards the centre of the city, passing through the “Moat Haohe Scenic Area”; first little stop at the Jugue Pavilion where people do their morning exercises looking a the river water.

the Bonsai garden

I felt a bit of their energy and walked further on the riverside; second stop at the Bonsai garden, another place of peace. Then my walk became more adventurous, battling against cars, motorbikes, mud of the constructions spreading all over and of course the rain. All this was happening before 8am; I walked and walked and as much as I wanted to look around I felt that something was missing. I will not be embarrassed to say that I stopped at a KFC to have a coffee; then life could be reasonable again.

On my way back to the hotel to get ready for the day’s activities, I stopped at the Nantong book-store where they also have books with English titles but that was all that was in English. Of course the people felt embarrassed for my sake so I did not stay long; the only book that could make sense to buy was the dictionary but I found this a bit premature. This embarrassment or surprise to see me, is something I myself face with equal surprise; so, we are all a bit surprised but with good or indifferent intentions. I must say that the young people that have been around us, coming mostly from Universities and working for the show as volunteers, have the most innocent eyes and did their utmost best to accommodate us. Their English is fantastic especially if I think that they don’t really use it! They look more used to “the others”.


But it is already late; after a seminar, which was basically a panel discussion between consultants/ jury board members, an award ceremony and then a deadly diner a the Four Seasons hotel, it is time to pack my bags and get some rest. Tomorrow morning at 6:30 am a bus will take us to Shanghai; other stories there. Still, I have more to say about the deeds in Nantong, but that will come later. I got the catalogue and can be more precise with the photographs of works but now, in a little haste, I will only publish some generic photos (apart from one, check the captions). Goodnight or good day; word of the day “Grassroots”

the 7th “From Lausanne to Beijing” Fiber Art Biennale, Nantong, China

After a good night sleep I stood up ready to attend the day’s main event. The opening of the exhibition took place at 10 am with girls in costumes, drums, speeches, pyros and balloons. Nantong, being a city of textile industry of long tradition, has passed to its people and apparently to China’s conscience a certain respect for fiber works and fiber art as extension. The idea that fiber art is a form that comes from the people and therefore people can understand and associate themselves with it was not only sensed but also proclaimed aloud and with conviction. Yet, I did not expect it to be such a highly appreciated event. The ceremony of course was bathed with importance but the exhibition itself is the actual festivity; it is filled with inspiration reflecting it back at every step. If you are around do not miss it. The area of the venue is also interesting, making the after taste of the day somehow edgy; at one side the pyros and at the other side people standing outside the gate getting a glimpse of the festivities of others.
This is the address: “1895” Cultural and Creative Industrial Park, 18#, West Street, Gangzha District, Nantong City, Jiangsu Province.
I am publishing here a few photographs of the exhibition without names of the artists nor titles and materials used (added on 18 Nov.), as I do not have the catalogue in my hands yet to be able to be precise. Tomorrow, since we are supposed to be there for the seminar and other activities I hope to get the catalogue and finish my tour in the actual show which today proved to be squeezed in a very tight programme. The last visit today was at the new Museum of the City of Nantong a fabulous building of human dimensions made of white marble and black stone. The word of the day (continuing reading the book China in Ten Words by Yu Hua): “Disparity”

see images at http://www.chinafiberart.com.cn/news1.asp?Id=223

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Going to China

7th International “From Lausanne to Beijing” Fiber Art Biennale Exhibition

Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, China

8 November to 15 December 2012

Through a very difficult time, that I considered “lost period” for my work, came out a few art pieces that I would keep. One of them is selected for this exhibition in China, where I am invited to attend the opening and the symposium that follows the next day. Half of the participants are Chinese, the rest from all over the world. I am already moved from the kindness of the organizers and the care they show to their exhibitors by being well on time with the documents and the information they need to provide. I am so looking forward to see the exhibition and meet these amazing textile artists…but first have to work on the travel…

“The power of leaves”, embroidery, 2012