Sunday, January 07, 2018

Hannah Ryggen at The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

This is a really, really good exhibition that is well worth the trip to Oxford. The gallery is within walking distance of Oxford railway station; it is not an enormous exhibition, just two rooms, but it's well worth going.
The tapestries are huge, and full of humorous detail. Many of them are coloured using vegetable dyes and Ryggen was entirely self-taught as a weaver. She was a communist and both Hitler and Winston Churchill appear in her tapestries. She was a brave woman who stuck to her principles, even when it was dangerous. I loved the way she had woven her political activism into the work. The colours are vibrant and the composition is immaculate- all the more so because she worked freehand. They are full of character, but also have a sort of serenity about them that is really appealing. They look more primitive in photographs than they do when you're standing in front of them, partly because their size is quite extraordinary, but also because there is the impression of a lot of depth in them, which may be to do with the texture of the fabric. What an amazing woman.
I wish I'd taken more photographs especially of the one with the horse; there is no catalogue unfortunately. It's on till 18th February; these are very unusual artefacts for their time- she was an inspiring forerunner of today's craftivist movement. Go!

1 comment:

'A Weaver' said...

some of her former works include The Bayeaux Tapestry