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Pleasure / Unpleasure. Performing Cultural Heritage - Voices from the Artistic Practice of Shibori in Sweden

Kapitel i bok
Författare Thomas Laurien
Publicerad i Crafting Cultural Heritage
ISBN 9789198140637
ISSN 1101-3303
Förlag University of Gothenburg
Förlagsort Gothenburg
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Högskolan för design och konsthantverk
Språk sv
Länkar hdl.handle.net/2077/42095
Ämnesord Konsthantverk Historia , Kulturarv , Cultural property , Sverige
Ämneskategorier Konst


In the chapter “Pleasure/Unpleasure” I describe how a new textile artistic form of expression has been established and developed in Sweden during the last twenty-five years. I show how artists from various disciplines have created, and are still creating, a new artistic space of acting, by placing notions and conceptions of two textile techniques and forms of expression, represented through shibori and knytbatik, in confrontation with each other in performative situations. In other words, I show that an important aspect of making shibori in the Swedish context is also to say shibori. In this process of constructing, shibori – with its roots in Japanese tradition, as well as its connections to contemporary Japanese fashion – is perceived as attractive, as well as life-giving and desire-producing, whilst knytbatik is often perceived as problematic and as causing a sense of “unpleasure”. In a professional artistic context, knytbatik comes to be considered as problematic, since the techniques associated with it tend to lead to a form of expression that has become semiotic and emblematic – signaling “hippie”, “amateur”, and “easy-to-make”. Thus, knytbatik and its techniques and forms of expression may be viewed as though caught in a semiotic trap. The professionally active artist can of course regard the semiotic symbol as a resource, and through active choices use it and make something interesting with it; however, one cannot pretend that this symbol doesn’t exist. This dilemma can, to a great extent, also be solved by placing the artistic work in an explicit shibori context. The interview material shows that in the textile craftscape the artists inhabit and belong to, making shibori seems to overlap and go hand in hand with the artists orienting themselves towards Japan – recognising the prevailing attraction Japanese culture exerts. Despite the fact that the individual artists interpret and transform shibori in their own unique and unconventional ways, this situation can still be depicted as an ever-growing collective group of artists in Sweden who show an interest in, whilst also nurturing, Japanese cultural heritage – both materially and immaterially.

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