Galerie Maria Wettergren / Paris / F
In 2016 in Paris, Galerie Maria Wettergren presented the exhibition Water Mirror by Grethe Sørensen, showing five large wall tapestries and a multimedia video installation. This new eponymous series of Jacquard tapestries is inspired by light reflections off water as observed by the artist in the Venice canals, Tokyo Bay and Danish waters.
Since 2005, Grethe Sørensen’s desire to approach textile art from an optical perspective has resulted in a series of vibrating Jacquard weavings of light phenomena derived from nature and computer technologies. Grethe Sørensen is fascinated with light effects and her tapestries show just how interesting the textile medium can be from an impressionist point of view. Her masterly association of seemingly distinct worlds such as the digital and the natural, computer technologies and handcraft, makes her a significant textile artist with works in important museum collections, such as the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York and The 21C Museum Hotel in Cincinnati.
Grethe Sørensen’s ability to see possibilities in new technologies is manifest in the video animations she creates together with film director Bo Hovgaard, which she displays in the exhibitions next to her large-scale wall tapestries. These video recordings of flickering city lights and water reflections play a double role, both as sketches for the unique tapestries, woven by the artist at the Tilburg Textile Museum, and as counterparts to the weavings, revealing within the same motif interesting variations on time and perception.
While at distance the tapestries may appear quite similar to photographs, they become significantly different on closer inspection. The woven pixels provoke a vibrating illusion of three-dimensionality in which the light reflections are modulated into soft and vaporous reliefs through the artist’s virtuoso use of threads in cotton, wool and polyester. Time seems to gain a slow pace as the beholder gradually discovers the amazing richness of detail in the weavings, in which each pixel is translated into threads. Yet, within this myriad of points, Grethe Sørensen demonstrates her great sense of composition and control, creating timeless images of ephemeral light, not unlike Georges Seurat’s quiet, yet majestic pointillist paintings.