‘Fabric/ate’ is an exhibition of site-specific textile-based installations by three visual artists Gili Avissar (Israel), Stephanie Müller (Germany), and Lisa Simpson (Brazil), curated by Tuçe Erel, at Schneidertempel Art Center in Istanbul‘s historic Galata neighborhood. The works will be hosted from September 11, with a live musical sewing performance during the opening night by Stephanie Müller and Lisa Simpson, the “Duet of Amplified Sewing Machines” where the two artists make music out of making clothes. The exhibition can be visited until October 7, 2017.
What ties the exhibiting artists together is their diverse use of cloth as medium, each presenting their own site-specific installation created in dialogue with the history of the venue hosting them, a former Synagogue built by the Ashkenazi Jewish Tailor-Guild during the late Ottoman Empire.
Each artist engages with fabric in his or her artistic practice, addressing cloth as a commodity that partly constructs our identity. In turn, the textile industry, one of biggest industries in the world, is a socio-economic phenomenon, where production and processing of textile are part of our daily lives. In ‘Fabric/ate’, the artists aim to create parallels between their works as well as transform the venue through their distinct works.
Fabric serves as key material in Avissar's work, as he combines it with paint onto large-scale installations in exhibition venues. The existential state of nomadism is key to his practice of creating unfixed environments that he perceives as places to build, reside in, and transform. Avissar will revisit one of his tent installations inside the venue with the video titled Beeri Tree (2014). His video works are documentations of his performances with his installations that he created in his studio or out in nature. In the exhibition, Avissar will present ‘Beeri Tree’ (2014), and various photographs alongside his installation. Avissar’s installation will transform the venue into another entity out of its original context.
In her practice, Lisa Simpson creates sculptural garments from second-hand clothing and fabric remnants as a way of questioning current western consumption habits. Simpson uses the sewing machine as a musical instrument in both solo and collaborative performances, creating her soft sculptures based on improvisation and indeterminate concepts often studied in musical composition. For the exhibition, Simpson will create an installation combined from previous garments created in collaboration with Stephanie Müller, as well as from found materials in Istanbul, particularly from second hand shops and ateliers in Bomonti and Dolapdere, two neighborhoods strongly marked by gentrification. These materials will be reworked into sculptural garments during Simpson’s stay in Istanbul, as well as during the opening night performance, so the viewer is invited into the creative process.
Stephanie Müller combines sound and textile in her installations, creating textile-based sound objects and video art, often in collaboration with visual artist Klaus Erich Dietl. Müller and Simpson have been collaborating as the Duet of Amplified Sewing Machines since 2014, due to a mutual interest in sound art and textiles, particularly in using the sewing machine as a musical instrument. In their performances, the artists take their sewing machines out of their original context, alienating them from their use in industrial or private spaces, transforming them into amplified musical instruments that they place on center space, under the spotlight.
The exhibition is realized with the sponsorship of Mazars Denge, which also celebrates its 40th year in 2017. Consulate of General of Israel in Istanbul, Cultural Office of Munich, STEP travel grant from European Cultural Foundation with the support of Compagnia di San Paolo, and Alberto Cimetta Fund supported the travel of the artists for the exhibition.
Gili Avissar, a multi-disciplinary artist, was born in Haifa, 1980. He lives and works in Tel Aviv. Gili Avissar's oeuvre extends across a wide range of media, essentially creating a space subject to constant change. It contains the sum total of contexts pertaining to the creation of objects and their animation in space. In many cases Avissar is physically involved in the work: he wallows in paint, wears his sculptures, and assumes self-created masks. Each work is akin to a link binding a past work with a future one in a cycle of deconstruction, processing and reinvention of colors, objects and shapes, thereby undermining notions of beginning and completion. Crucial to this perpetual cycle is Avissar's constant self-documentation; studio-made videos that not only manifest his aesthetics in yet another media, but rather constitute as an exclusive evidence to temporary phases. Providing a slit to clandestine developments otherwise may not be seen, the videos are, in fact, the only gateway through which the viewer can experience the full spectrum of the artist's innovation. In this sense, Avissar's video works challenge the very notion of Video Art; they do not aim to accord the medium, but rather to serve as an intrinsic practice. Avissar's video oeuvre can best be described as the sum of all media; in some cases it is characterized by a sculptural nature; other times it reflects the artist's performative persona; it can serve as a pictorial frame or a component in a large-scale installation. What may be seen at first as a transformative practice, Avissar's video works play a significant role in the unification of his conceptual and material narratives.
Stephanie Müller is a visual artist and sociological researcher with a fierce love for experiments and improvisation. She has a master’s degree in communication science, sociology and psychology (LMU Munich) and postgraduate (art and therapy) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Still studying she launched her textile and media art project rag*treasure. Together with Laura Melis Theis, an Oxford based songwriter, she initiated the experimental band project beißpony. In October 2013 their debut album was released on Chicks On Speed Records.
Besides her art projects Stephanie Müller is engaged as a university and guest lecturer. Since 2014 Stephanie Müller is part of the research project Making Art – Taking Part! on the authority of the Mozarteum and the University of Salzburg.
Recent highlights include performances in New York (Sidewalk Cafe), at the Cineclub Detour in Rome, at the Museumsquartier in Vienna, an invitation by the Kunsthalle Schirn (Frankfurt a. Main) and a sound art performance at the ZKM Karlsruhe. And together with Klaus Erich Dietl she directed the collaborative full length feature film „The Mouth – Our Ultimate Prison“. It is premiered at the Lenbachhaus in Munich in July 2017.
Dialogue lies at heart of Müller's art and research projects. She is part of a series of international art exchange projects supported by institutions such as the British Arts Council and the Goethe Institute. So far she had full stipend residencies in Antwerp (Belgium), Austin (Texas, USA), Lviv and Kiev (Ukraine), Jakarta (Indonesia). At the moment she is European artist in residence together with her collaborator Klaus Erich Dietl at the BE Festival in Birmingham.
Lisa Simpson is a sewing agent. She has been playing the Singer, a sewing machine, since 2003. In the daytime she tackles unwanted clothing, pins them down and cuts them up, transforming them into new wearable shapes. By nighttime, the Singer joins her fellow musicians and Lisa sews to the beat of the music, improvising on clothing based on rhythm and sound. The prepared sewing machine is amplified to become a musical instrument, and new sculptural garments are created from old clothes.
She has a Bachelor degree in Visual Arts from Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná, and a Master of Applied Arts Degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her research focuses on her exhibitions in progress, where the creative process is emphasized; the performativity of the act of sewing; and audience participation as the source of inspiration. By transforming wardrobes she is questioning contemporary consumption habits, bringing forth a discussion around the sustainability of the fashion industry. She can be found deep under a pile of commissions, or in an exhibition in progress somewhere around the world. Lisa has performed extensively on an international level, including at The Vancouver Art Gallery, the Month of Performance Art- Berlin, the Bimhuis Amsterdam, Curitiba Fashion Week, among others. In 2014 she was Artist in Residence at Villa Waldberta in Munich, invited by the EU project What's the Deal.
Tuçe Erel (1981, Ankara) is a freelance art professional, art writer and curator, based in Berlin. She studied Sociology at METU (2005). She studied Arts Theory and Critic (MA program) at Anatolian University (2009). She worked for an art magazine as content editor, gallery manager and archivist, and gallery assistant in Istanbul from 2011 through 2013. Since September 2013, she has been working as a freelance art professional. She worked for artist’s book project, supported artists' public relations, and contributed to art magazines in Turkey. She did her second MA in Art Arts Policy and Management (with curating pathway) at Birkbeck College (2015). Her curatorial interests are archiving practices, ecology, anthropocene, post-post modernity, and post-digital. She was at the curatorial team of Quiet Cue and since January 2017, she is member of Schillerpalais.